Google has come up with Blog Compass, an app for the bloggers. The App which can be downloaded on the iPhone and the Android has much more than analytics to offer.
One thing common with all bloggers is that they want to measure the reach of their activity on the blog. They want to know how many views their blogs have received. And a sincere feedback of the content.
Blog Compass is a must-have App for the bloggers. The app has a number of features that range from providing the analytics of the published posts to giving suggestions on topics to write about.
Here are the 7 main features of the Blog Compass
Every feature of Blog Compass is equally essential for the bloggers. While planning the day ahead, the Blog Compass provides lots of inputs on improving the content of the blog.
The Home Page of the App contains the highlights of the rest of the 6 pages on the App.
There is a graph illustrating the number of views on the website.
Mention of trending topics.
The number of latest comments.
Overviews of Google Analytics.
A suggestion of what to learn at the Learning Centre.
And the number of badges earned for the posts.
The Activity page includes the Visitors Overviews, Traffic Source, Search queries and Details of the top posts. You can check the above-mentioned information for a week, month, 3 months or a year.
An outstanding feature of Blog Compass is the topic suggestions to write about. Following are the categories of the topic:
Your Picks: Possibly these topics are based on the google search made by you.
Trending: These are the topics that are trending on the internet.
For you: Based on the topics that you have posted on your blog.
The highlights of Blog Compass is the Badges provided for reaching a certain milestone. There are badges like bronze and silver. You can view the badges collected so far.
You can share the badges on the Social Media. I shared one time and the response from the readers was as if received an Oscar.
The badges are given for Page View, Unique Visitors and number of posts written each month.
The posts can be viewed in different ways: post by date, post by last modified, post by the number of views and posts by title. Under each post, you can view the number of views so far and the number of comments.
You can view the number of pending and approved comments separately. You can also directly approve or remove the comment through the app.
A plethora of subjects is provided in the learning centre. Ranging fro SEO starter guideline to how to advertise on your blog. You can click on the subject you wish to get educated about. The learning centre is a help not just for the beginner but also for seasoned bloggers.
Overall Blog Compass is a must-have App for the blogger. Until now the bloggers could only get to know the number of views based on country and demography. Blog Compass provides an in-depth insight into the performance of the posts. And the badges provide lots of encouragement.
Blog Compass is just a few months old and currently available only in India. It is more compatible with Android.
Google is still improving on the App and in future blogger can expect more useful features.
Every Mumbaikar knows the meaning of, ‘Cutting Chai’. For the rest of the world, a cutting chai means half a cup of tea that is cheaper than a full cup’ yet enough to get refreshed. Now Livpure has started a campaign #CuttingPaani to spread awareness about the rising shortage of potable water globally. #CuttingPaani means if thirst is little, then drink only half a glass of water.
A small but impactful campaign to make each person responsible to take steps to preserve drinking water.
When one hears of the water crisis, the first picture that comes to mind is of the viral news of the water shortage in Cape Town. A city with 4 million people provides just 50-litre water per day for a person. In the US a person gets 350 litres of water per day. And very soon, a ‘zero-day’ will arrive in Cape Town when one million households in the city will not get any running water.
What is happening in Cape Town, is a bleak story of what every city in the world can expect. Interestingly, one reason for the water crisis according to reports is ‘poor water management’ and ‘insufficient preparation’.
We fear there will be Zero-day in Bengaluru. According to reports if the rainwater is harvested properly, the water crisis in Bengaluru can be managed. Which means if we manage our water we can avoid the zero-day.
#Cuttingpaani is the first initiative in the direction of saving water. We can save water by #cuttingpaani in a number of our activities at home.
Drink less water in the night
One must drink 3 to 4 litres of water in a day. But the majority should be consumed in the daytime. Having more water in the night may lead to kidney and other ailments.
No water-thirsty plants at home
You might have indoor plants, outdoor plants and kitchen gardens at home. Some plants like Cactus family and aloe vera require very little water. Some plants and soils require water only to be sprayed. Keep only those plants at home that requires hardly any water.
Avoid using tap water directly
For bathing use bucket and mug. For brushing and shaving use water in a mug. Wash dishes by taking water in a small basin. Avoiding tap water usage directly saves a lot of water.
Handwash some clothes
Handwashing requires only that much water as is required in the first round of washing in a washing machine. For a washing machine, at least 12 to 15 buckets of water is for three rounds – one washing and two rinsing sessions. Whereas in hand wash the whole activity will be over in 3 buckets of water.
Mop the veranda floor, do not wash
A common view in Indian cities is to see hose pipe with running water being used to clean veranda. Mostly maids just waist the water pouring the water on all the vehicles, plants, gates and so on. Using a hosepipe to clean is an easy but a water wasting method of cleaning. Mop the veranda floor to save water.
If we use our resources more reasonably and more collectively we can avoid a zero-day.
Also, sing the petition for #CuttingPaani to spread the awareness to fill the glass with only as much water as you have thirst. Watch the video to know more about the campaign.
After food shortage in India was resolved by the green revolution, nutrition experts in India found that the Indian diet was inadequate in the intake of good quality protein. According to experts, the diet should be balanced including carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Protein is an essential component for every stage of life.
During pregnancy, the vegetarian mother should take milk for high-quality protein. After birth, the requirement of protein is very high in 0-2 age group and Adolescence. In the old age, people consume less food and proportionately the consumption of protein is also reduced. During the old age, the amount of protein should not be lowered.
There is a misconception in India that protein is for body building only. Protein is required in every stage of human life. On the other hand, if you have a protein only diet and do not exercise then the protein will go out of the body with urine. You must have a balanced diet of high-quality protein, carbohydrates and fats.
For instance, you can have idli with sambar, rice with rajma and a glass of milk. All the three meals in a day and the two snack must include a high-quality protein food. Milk, poultry and meat are sources of high-quality protein which is digestible. Vegetables are less digestible compared to the nonvegetarian sources.
Nutrition experts say that cereals are a good source of protein, and the ideal ratio of consumption of cereals and proteins is 60:40. Too much or too little protein is not good for health. During the healing process of some diseases, protein is essential.
To maintain a healthy lifestyle we must follow the right ratio of protein, energy and exercise.
In order to increase the awareness of protein among the Indians and to clarify the misconceptions, Indian DIetetic Association (IDA), Delhi Chapter on 18th July declared 24th-30th July 2017 as ‘The Protein Week’. Dr B Sesikeran, renowned nutritional pathologist said, “In India, there are many myths around the sources of protein, people are confused about their dietary protein intake and often assume that it is for body builders only, however, protein is a fundamental nutrient across life stages that helps in maintaining good health and active ageing.”
The initiative is supported by Protein Foods Nutrition Development Association of India (PFNDAI). Protein intake impacts every life stage. “Our vegetarian diets are already deficient in protein both in quantity and quality, so we need to supplement with protein which not only fills up the gap but is high quality enough to ensure our cereal and pulse-based protein quality would be elevated,” said Dr J S Pai, Executive Director, PFNDAI.
Speaking at first such initiative in the country, to spread awareness and discuss myths and realities of protein, Ms Anuj Agarwala, Nutritionist, Department of Pediatrics, AIIMS and Former President, IDA Delhi Chapter, said “It is important to begin early and focus on a protein rich diet right from the start, which should be continued through all the life stages of development and growth. Children particularly have high protein demand to propel their growth during growing years, as they grow in spurts. Demands for protein among children is particularly high during preteen and teen phases of growth spurts.”
During The Protein Week, IDA with PFNDAI, will hold educational seminars across the country to spread awareness and discuss myths and realities of protein.
In this age when most employees nurture a dream of starting a business of their own, and search for inspiring stories and ideas to begin a venture, Renji George Amballoor wrote a book about 24 successful start-up entrepreneurs in Goa. All of them conceptualised and began their unique business ventures before the start-up became a buzzword in India. Renji George, a Professor in a Start-up college wrote the start-up stories to inspire student to take up start-up ventures. Since parents are unenthusiastic to allow their children to take a plunge into the risky start-up ventures, Amballoor felt the book will give the parents the courage to support their children. He put in lot of effort to meet the 24 entrepreneurs and to write about their success stories. Here is an interview with the author of ‘Driven by Passion’, Renji George Amballoor, about the writing of the book and about start-ups in India:
Tell us something about yourself
Myself, Dr. Renji George Amballoor is a non resident Keralite (NRK), currently associated as Associate Professor & HoD, Department of Economics, with Government College, Quepem, Goa, for last 26 years. Has a Doctorate degree in Economics from M G University, Kottayam and an Executive MBA from Goa Institute of Management (GIM). Was appointed as the officiating principal of a start-up Government College for setting up the institution. I am also the recipient of the D D Kosambi Research Fellowship-2013 ( Sr. Category) awarded by Department of Art & Culture, Govt. of Goa & Dempo Research Fellowship- 2008 awarded by Vasantrao Dempo Education & Research Foundation, Goa.
What is the book about; and how did you start writing the book?
In all the stories, entrepreneurship grew out of their passion and dream to do something different.
The book is about 24 first generation entrepreneurs of Goa for sectors from sectors like agriculture, dairy farming, hospitality, drama, music, health care, culture, artwork, waste management, industrial designing, manufacturing, corporate training, information enabled services, etc. None of them had any family background in business. In all the stories, entrepreneurship grew out of their passion and dream to do something different. Their underlying philosophy is that of determination, positive attitude, simplicity and creativity. The narratives of almost all of them highlight the need for creative out-of the box thinking for transforming their challenges into new business opportunities. The objective of this book is to motivate and infuse students and youth into a culture of entrepreneurship & start-ups with local stories from their catchment areas.
After interacting with most of the students, who were first time learners, as the officiating principal of a start-up Government College, I felt the need for pushing them into the mainstream. Internship programme was something close to my heart and decided to implement it. It was easy assignment to convince the students into internship but the stumbling block was their parents. Their argument was that their ward had to travel additional 10 to 15 kms to avail the internship. The dissenting parents were made the champions of internship programme by identifying and narrating the local success stories. In a short period of five years, I had lot of stories to entertain the parents. With these stories in my inventory, I felt the need for documenting these stories for deeper penetration and wider reach.
Who are your target audience?
My target audience includes students and youth who generally queue up in front of government offices, industrial estates and foreign embassies. Many a times, they end up being employed at places, institutions and departments with no scope for expressing their creativity. By introducing them into the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship, the optimal utilization of demographic dividend can be ensured.
Give an example of one of the entrepreneurs from this book?
Stories of all the 24 first generation entrepreneurs are interesting but the outstanding among them is that of Late Prashant Shinde. After securing a Diploma in Production, joined Pentair as an engineer, but his aim was to go to US. But his dreams were shattered with India test firing the Pokhran-II nuclear bomb.
Many times, he would be the delivery boy riding on the two-wheeler. As time passed by, he had clientele including Trans-National Corporation and today provides livelihood to about 54 families.
Disappointed at the turn of the events, he decided to do something of his own. Along with his friend Supriya, who later on became his life partner, carried out an extensive market survey and zeroed in on packaging industry but both were clueless about the sector. Prashant took a train to Dharavi, which had lot of informal packaging unit. He got employed in one of them as helper with an objective of mastering the machinery and its process. Impressed by his enthusiasm and efficiency, the owner of the unit made him an operator. After spending six months in Dharavi, he returned back with rich experience and exposure. With a small bank loan, he purchased machinery but had to search for about 3 months to get a place to install it. Along with his assistant, he started taking labour jobs for other printing units. Many times, he would be the delivery boy riding on the two-wheeler. As time passed by, he had clientele including Trans-National Corporation and today provides livelihood to about 54 families.
He later became the president of Verna Industries Association, a period during which the infrastructural facilities expanded in the industrial estate. He was also instrumental in organising the first edition of business idea contest- ‘Kaun Banega Udyogpati’. He became a star campaigner for entrepreneurship awareness programme in colleges. His energy and dynamism would force students to wake from their deep slumber and on many occasions, he was asked to continue speaking which always extended into a standing ovation.
He had also expanded his business into areas like real estate, mining, etc. He had to wind up his dream project of constructing a low-income housing township. Without remaining disappointed, he continued his entrepreneurial journey with greater vigour and determination. While celebrating his 38th birthday, he had a massive heart attack and the state of Goa lost a champion of entrepreneurship. Today, his legacy is carried forward by his wife Supriya Shinde.
Did they all begin their venture before the beginning of start-up culture in India?
The 24 entrepreneurs in my book started their entrepreneurial journey even before the winds of start-up culture could be felt. They started at a time when the thinking was orthodox and the society did not accept entrepreneurship as a viable source of employment.
What is the situation of start-up culture in Goa?
The start-up culture is slowly building up in Goa but the eco-system needs to be more conducive. The start-up culture which is getting popular in professional colleges should percolate into conventional non-professional campuses.
The schools should include success stories of entrepreneurs along with chapters on Saints, Scientists, Social Reformers & Political Leaders for inculcating the values of entrepreneurship from early ages.
The establishment of Centre for Incubation & Business Acceleration (CIBA) at two locations, BITS Pilani Campus in Goa, Goa Engineering College & Goa Information Technology Innovation Centre (GITS) have enhanced and nurtured the incubation facilities in Goa especially for the IT sector.
Policy reforms needs to be made to ensure our academic process and faculty are more start-up friendly. Incentive system and mentoring facility needs to be built in to our curriculum for attracting students into start-ups.
The schools should include success stories of entrepreneurs along with chapters on Saints, Scientists, Social Reformers & Political Leaders for inculcating the values of entrepreneurship from early ages.
What is the future of start-ups globally & particularly in India?
According to the Economic Survey released in 2016, India has 19,000 technology enabled start-ups. The future of start-ups is bright in India. With a population of more than one billion, the opportunities for start-ups are many. Over the census period, the rate of urbanization has skyrocket. With the increasing urbanization, problems have also witnessed an amoebic expansion. Problems needs solutions and this opens the floodgates of opportunities for start-ups.
The captains of the industry should come forward to mentor and guide start-ups into sustainable take-off. Further, it has become a craze among youngsters to tell that they are into start-ups without any tangible outcomes. Such a trend is also dangerous.
The global slowdown can actually boost the start-ups. With low and negative economic growth in many countries, the consumers are giving up their costly life style and looking for alternatives. The surge for options can fuel the start-ups globally.
You are the principal of a start-up college, a start-up writer writing about start-up and published by a start-up publishing? Was it a coincidence?
After interacting with most of the students, who were first time learners, as the officiating principal of a start-up Government College, I felt the need for pushing them into the mainstream. Internship programme was something close to my heart and decided to implement it. It was easy assignment to convince the students into internship but the stumbling block was their parents. Their argument was that their ward had to travel additional 10 to 15 kms to avail the internship. The dissenting parents were made the champions of internship programme by identifying and narrating the local success stories. In a short period of five years, I had lot of stories to entertain the parents.
At that point I felt the need of documenting them for reaching a wider audience and in the process became a start-up writer. Very soon, I realized that these stories were about how the entrepreneurs made their start-ups sustainable.
While scouting for a publisher, it was observed that their terms and conditions were unfavourable to start-up writers. A start-up writer is ignored, neglected and squeezed by established publishers. At home, almost every day we used to discuss my interactions with the entrepreneurs, their business model, problems, creative solutions, etc. Excited about the stories, my son decided to publish my book through his start-up – Rean Publication.
At the end of this journey, I strongly feel that it is a mere coincidence that the entire assignment revolved around start-ups.
What are your future plans?
The joy, satisfaction and a new identity emerging from writing the book is great. Writing takes one into a new world of networks and challenges.
Writing this book was a part of my academic social responsibility to the state of Goa and its institutions which has showered me with opportunities and nurtured me into what I am today. As a part of giving back to the society, my next venture will be to document the first time women entrepreneurs of Goa.
You might know children with cerebral palsy, who is the child of your friend, relative or a neighbour, who is bed ridden and you sympathise with the family which is taking care of the child. Nadia could have ended up simply lying in a corner of her house had it not been for the determination of her parent and the will power of Nadia herself. Her parents ensured that she studied in a regular school with her 9 siblings, for which they had to change locations.
Nadia Clarke has cerebral palsy and she is deaf from her birth. At the age of 5, she got a wheelchair and a communication aid implanted on that. Her communication aid is her voice which she uses to communicate. Using the communicative aid is not easy. When she is talking to someone, her support staff communicates to her using signs. Then she makes sentence using the communication aid. Her communication aid consist of hundreds of words. It takes couple of minutes for Nadia to form a simple sentence.
The process of communicating with the aid is lot of hard work for Naida and her support staff, and sometimes a bit boring for the listeners because of the long gap in between the communication. But that doesn’t stop Nadia from communicating and globe trotting.
The Guardian Newspaper describes Nadia’s mother as someone with turbo energy which she has passed on to her children. Her parent were determined that she studied in a normal school, hence they had to shift to different localities to send Nadia to schools that accepted her along with her brothers and sisters.
Nadia completed high school and level 2 in health and social care. Here next aim is to attend the university.
Nadia has got indomitable spirit and she is supported by an organisation 1 voice. She has travelled around the world to Europe, US, Asia, Australia, etc. She blogs about all her experiences in her blog. One of her dream destination was India, and so now she was in India and she is quiet excited to visit Taj Mahal.
When she came to India she visited Anchal-Centre for differently abled children. She interacted with the children and their parents using her communication aid and her interpreters Samantha Jayne Green and Tanya Louise Perry. Sibi, a student of Anchal refused at first to dance because she thought her costume was too long and she might fall. But the teachers and parents convinced her to dance. Before leaving Aanchal Nadia called Sibi and congratulated her for being so brave to overcome the obstacle.
Nadia is all smiles always from her childhood picture upto now. She goes around the world and encourages children like her to move ahead in life and to explore opportunities. She says her biggest gift in life was the communication aid. She says for deaf and dumb people the aid protects them from abusers, because they can always communicate.
When asked about the secret of her evergreen smile she said that her mother told her to wake up with a smile and to remain positve always.
Like the past editions of UnBox festival, this year the line up for day one was stacked with some great talks, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, installations and meals.
Festival attendees got a chance to explore talks and panels on water-related issues, the future of urban farming, the digital content landscape in India, language and learning, the impact of social media on the upcoming general elections, building resilience from distress and tech ecologies.
Produced by UnBox Food Labs, lunch at the festival was catered by Bengaluru Oota Company which was a tribute to the Gowda and Mangalorean cuisines of Karnataka, a culinary experience based on heirloom family recipes that are passed down through the generations.
Post lunch, we dived right into workshops – Experiential Immersion in Disability, The future of History, Smellscape, Emergent Tech, What is your feminist wishlist?, Narkasur, Conspiracy creation and Seeing Invisibility.
UnBox X Open house – a free for all event kicked off at 6PM with Now: A Kinetic Life – an interactive installation and performance, and a three-part film addressing the challenges of rising food demands. A collection of art exhibits, installations, screenings and immersive experiences were on display and open for all those who walked through the fest. We closed day one with a trans-media narrative of hypnagogic dreamscapes (titled Dreamswitch) through improvised electronica and live visual programming, featuring Seasonal Affected Beats, Aural Eye and Cursorama.
As reported by Vibhuti Jaswal from the festival venue.
Information about the Evening Performances On February 16th and 17th.
February 16 | 8:00PM onwards UnBox After Dark Aural Eye X Cursorama X Echofloat X SPRYKPresented at Foxtrot – House of Subculture in Koramangala.
Unbox After Dark presents a collaborative Audio Visual showcase by the Unbox residents and guests. The night combines sounds from Bombay based electronic musicians SPRYK and Echofloat, with visual interpretations from Thiruda and Cursorama from the VJing collective, Alt-Q supported by Romanian collective- Aural Eye Visions Studio. Spryk is the brainchild of Tejas Nair, an independent electronic musician pushing boundaries of technology-driven art. EchoFloat is a music project conceived by Jeff Nelson, exploring productions and DJ sets ranging from lush thoughtful soundscapes to intricate granular textures, to invoke a sense of space, form, interconnectivity and movement. February 17 | 6:00PM-10:00PM The Unwind Collection Nikhil Narendra X Shreyas Dipali X Tambe and Friends Presented at The Humming Tree in Indira Nagar. Tambe & Friends is an indie folk trio based out of Bangalore, India. The project revolves around an intimate collection of songs written and sung by Abhi Tambe with ample support from Michael Dias and Kaushik Kumar on guitars and vocal harmonies. Abhi Tambe, currently performing as a solo singer-songwriter, is remembered in the city as one of the founding members of the cult band Lounge Piranha, which disbanded back in 2010. Michael Dias is founder and frontman for current city favourites Mad Orange Fireworks and Kaushik Kumar plays bass in the same band.
They will be followed by a modern, electronic set that brings together the sound experiments of Nikhil Narendra and Shreyas Dipali. They used to perform with alternative band The Bicycle Days, but have found their true calling in electronic music that condenses their many influences into one sound.
The countdown has begun for a festival that connects people and helps one to learn from the experience of people from various fields. The Unbox Festival is being put together, for the fifth time, by Quicksand Design Studio, a research and design practice with studios in New Delhi, Bangalore and Goa.
UnBox Festival will take place at the
Bangalore International Centre, in Domlur, between February 15-17, 2019. Here
is an interview with Babitha George, Co-Founder – UnBox Festival &
Director – Quicksand Design Studio. She talks about the events at the festival
this year, how the festival began, and the outcomes from the festival so far.
Tell us something about UnBox Festival?
The multi-disciplinary festival brings
together people from various fields of design, technology, culture, art and
Incepted by Quicksand Design Studio in 2011 as an annual festival in
India, and a fellowship program since 2012, UnBox has promoted new thoughts and
partnerships at the intersection of design, art, culture and social innovation.
UnBox is a growing community of creative, academic and developmental
professionals seeking to collaborate beyond their immediate practice and
looking to infuse future world experiences with imagination, sustainability and
In 2014 we took a pause on the UnBox festival format to reflect and renew. While we were away, we spent time quietly tinkering. UnBox was evolving and we tried on many hats. We packed it small and took it to Ahmedabad, Bombay, Bangalore, Goa, Berlin, London, Leeds, Sheffield, Anstruther, and Tokyo. It became a lab, a caravan, a pop-up, an immersive media arts platform, and an in-house experiment for the folks at the studio. It’s now back in India as a festival platform after a 4-year hiatus and with the upcoming edition we hope to rediscover lost paths, forge new trails, and have a good time while we are at it!
This year, UnBox will take place at the Bangalore International Centre
in Domlur between February 15-17, 2019 and will bring together a unique
programme that features diverse tracks for participants to explore
intersections across design, art, culture, technology and policy. The festival
will invite diverse participation and bring together technologists, activists,
policy makers and a mix of the creative community to ideate and collaborate on
the most pressing challenges facing India today.
What are the main events at the festival?
UnBox 2019 will run across three full days with workshops, labs,
conference sessions and conversations over meals, along with evenings of
performances and excursions into the city curated to inspire, provoke and
imagine. With a detailed programming in place this year we deep dive into
conversations around art, design, culture, technology, policy, environment and
social innovation. Right from conversations and discussions around emerging
technologies such as AI to conservation and human ecologies, design led
innovation to digital heritage and food ecosystems to creating a smell map of
the city, UnBox 2019 brings together a diverse mix of projects which are shared
either as evolved project ideas, or other projects that either culminate or are
initiated at the festival. In this way the UnBox experience lives not just for
the three days of the festival, but moves into a space of continued learning
Who are the participants at the festival?
UnBox 2019 is where people from seemingly disparate backgrounds, but
with similar interests and values around collaboration come together to explore
diverse themes and apply their unique skills and talents in co-creating new
products and ideas. The festival line up in terms of participants and
practitioners is carefully curated for a rich balance of the intellectual and
How did the UnBox festival begin in the first place?
We started UnBox with the intent to create a larger community who value
multidisciplinary approaches and are open to questioning their own practice and
learn from others. 8 years in, we have built a vibrant network of artists,
designers, thinkers, young professionals and stakeholders in the creative
economy space in India and abroad. We’ve always put innovative experiments at
the center of our programming and this year UnBox festival will be no
different. With UnBox 2019 we hope to bring people from disparate backgrounds
together to explore diverse themes and co-create new products and share fresh
ideas. It’s important to have a safe space that allows for discussions about
failure as well as about work that is in progress, which might be messy and
Through UnBox, we want to allow for new encounters and conversations,
and to draw inspiration from unlikely spaces. This festival edition will
collectively engage with new futures in a way that acknowledges and builds on
the multilayered complexity of our lives, from culture, memories and the past
to the spaces and communities we inhabit and shape.
Tell us something about the outcome of the festival in previous years?
The outcomes of the festival are both tangible and intangible. Some
projects have started at the festival and continued into longer projects. For
eg; UnBox has been working with the University of Dundee for a while around
decentralised narratives for technology that attempt to co-create solutions
with communities that are appropriate for the context. We are partnering with
Black Baza Coffee and Buffalo Back Collective on this project and all of these
explorations will make its way to the festival this year via conversations,
workshops and exhibits.
There are several other examples like this, also of projects that start
at the festival and continue to be explored beyond the festival through active
collaborations. Some other outcomes are intangible, through connections that
are made. The intimate format of the festival allows for informal and
meaningful networking, some of which are facilitated by the UnBox team, while
some others happen organically.
What is most exciting is when practices that would traditionally not
work with each other find points of connections and new ways of collaborating
and exploring challenges. For eg; what does it mean for a technologist to work
with a social scientist to think of what it means to develop more sensitive and
thoughtful technology services for communities, that take into account the
unique aspects of various contexts.
Tell us something about the installations, exhibition and performances
at the festival?
Attendees can expect to see a diverse mix of installations, exhibitions and performances at the festival. For instance, Invisible Flock and Quicksand bring to UnBox 2019 Kāṇada kathegaḷu which aims to mix environmental data collection with technology to find new ways of representing hidden elements of nature and our fragile relationship to it.
Stories from Down Under: VR Cinema Pods with Crossover Labs (UK) is a showcase of cutting-edge immersive entertainment from Australia featuring award-winning virtual reality films in association with Australian High Commission. The films export you to different worlds including the life of a street artist, a magical autumn forest and the land of an Australian indigenous elder.
Anatomy of an AI – In this talk, Prof. Vladan Joler from Novi Sad University uncovers the invisible matrix of human labour, energy consumption and resource extraction that is hidden behind digital networks and Artificial Intelligence. Specifically, it takes the home assistant Amazon Echo as a case study of black box technology and, step by step, reconstructs its design and the relations of each component with planetary ecology and economy.
In a participatory performance installation titled Un Parfum En Commun (supported by Pro Helvetia) with Swiss artist Maeva Rosset the intent is to create a common scent that identifies with all those who become part of its creation.
Aurora with Invisible Flock and Quicksand aims to open up a dialogue on the value of water at a local and global level, to understand it as an element, a life force, a resource, a commodity and a danger.
NOW – A Kinetic Life (supported by Goethe India) with Thomas Heidtmann (Lacuna Lab) and Bidisha Das is an interactive installation that spans a visual and acoustic connections between outer space and physical spaces that surround us. It is an orchestra of movement using elements from outer space, nature and human bodies as instrumentations.
Reminiscent of the warmth of a hardbound book and the scent of its pages, TheUnlimited Book with Thejesh GN expands the ecosystem of a library as the keeper of infinite knowledge. Taking the form of a secret book safe which consists of a custom server that runs on battery it serves readings that are stored locally on the server without the use of the internet. Project Infinity with Thejesh GN and PARI, an edition of the Unlimited Book includes a curated selection of stories from the People’s Archive of Rural India.
Mix the City Auto with Indian Music Experience is a transient space created within an Indian Auto Rickshaw to showcase and experience the diversity of sound, music and cultural influences from various cities in the country. It features original content by Indian composers and musicians in the form of short audio and video samples, compiled by UK music producers (Boxed In, Django Django and Anna Meredith, along with Israeli producer Kutiman). Supported by the British Council.
UK-India Lab with Invisible Flock and Quicksand who are facilitating a new network of artists and creatives from UK and India through a lab that focuses on building meaningful, cross-disciplinary collaborations within environmental and socially engaged practices. Supported by the British Council.
Swarpeti with Pratyush Gupta explores Indian classical music is intertwined with nature, seasons, colours and emotions. It transcends time and cultures to create a blend of music full of depth and wonder.
Talking Albums with PARI present a curated set of albums that speak from The People’s Archive of Rural India, a living journal and an archive of stories from India’s countryside.
Boundary Conditions with Deepak Kurki Shivaswamy, Abhijeet Tambe is an installation which looks to ignite an experience that is created by placing moving bodies in and against an architectural space that speaks of itself.
UnBox Open House: Friday @ Bangalore International Centre
With: SPRYK (Tejas), Thiruda, Alt-Q and Echofloat (Jeff Nelson)
UnBox Unwind: Sunday @ HummingTree
With: Abhijeet Tambe & Friends, Nikhil and Shreyas
How can someone participate in the festival?
Apart from an extended team of co-creators, mentors and practitioners who make up the festival programme, there is also a ticketed, open call for participants. Attendees will have access to talks, discussions, workshops, exhibitions, installations, meals, performances and excursions into the city curated to inspire, provoke and imagine.
When you invited me on The Blind Date I was puzzled. Should I accept the invite or not. How could I go on a blind date with The World, which never happened so far in history?
Those who travelled the world, they travelled with a purpose. The Vikings were pirates. Columbus and Vasco de Gama sailed in search of the spices. The three Magi followed a new star in search of the newborn and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea to settle in the land flowing with milk and honey. Lord Hanuman went in search of Sanjeevani.
There are many fictional places, in novels. Alice falls into a hole and discovers a Wonderland. Gulliver lands in Lilliput. There are other famous fictitious places like Erewhon and Utopia.
The boy in ‘The Alchemist’. He had a dream and sets out in search of a treasure. And what a fantasy-filled, mystic journey it was. Was it you, The World, who came in his dream and cajoled him to go on a blind date on paths unprecedented.
I was just joking. I know these places are just in fantasy and they do not exist in reality…… Or do they exist somewhere? The World, you are too tricky. The mankind is yet to unravel you completely.
Can you just spot one person who has been on a blind date with you? Not even Otzi, the Iceman. He was out on a mission, probably a soldier, killed in action and preserved for posterity by you. Were the Mountaineers, who discovered, Otzi, 6000 years later, on a blind date with you?
I got ‘My World’. A world comprising the people I know; the world that I read; and the world of my dreams, aspirations and hope. What I see and hear and whatever I fantasy they become part of my world. And the world that I have not seen, heard or experienced is your world. Do you have anything to offer me on the blind date which is not already part of my world?
You are a little late, I have seen it all. What I want to see are all over the Media. The television and the social media takes me to the unseen world. I have seen the underwaters, the deep forests and the Outer space.
Can you surprise me?
There is nowhere in this world where you can take and surprise me. Since I am not a big fan of surprises, let us reach an agreement. I will let you know my bucket list of places I want to visit. And I will share with you my likes and dislikes; and my dreams and wishes. You will have a fair idea on how to plan the blind date.
How I like to travel
I don’t like group tours. I like to travel with friends or family in a small group. Even if I can visit only a few places it is Ok. I want to tap the essence of the places that I visit. I want to meet the local people. Have food with them and enjoy a few cultural events. If you go for a group tour, they take you to popular destinations and the tour is time bound.
The popular tourist places are mostly customised – a dream world which is a bit away from reality. I would like to visit a normal family in any place and eat what they eat normally and enjoy the cultural activities they enjoy normally. That is the real culture of a place.
You are full of surprises
Remember, Abhilash Tomy, who sailed solo. He met with an accident at a remote location in the Indian Ocean. A location unexplored by mankind. Even now there are places on earth, unexplored. You still have many surprises for us in your kitty. You have many places still secretly kept and yet to be unfolded to mankind. Are you planning to take me to one such undiscovered place? Then I am ready for the blind date. Maybe I can meet people there who have their tradition, customs and recipes original and fresh.
My Bucket List meets #TheBlindList
Let me share with you my bucket list. That will give you an idea about how to plan the blind date:
The Holy Land
I want to visit the Holy Land so as to tour all the places mentioned in the Bible. Do you have any Biblical places which are not known to the people? Then please take me there on our blind date.
The land of Wordsworth
Can you take me to see the golden Daffodils and the lonely moor where the leech gather worked dedicatedly? Those are perfect places for a blind date. We can read the romantic poems of Wordsworth and pluck a few golden daffodils as a memento.
The biggest attraction of FIFA 2018 was Iceland. The highest temperature of the country is 25-degrees Centigrade and that happens rarely. The average temperature is 12-degrees Centigrade. How Cool! Can you take me on a blind date to Iceland? I saw the images of Iceland. Auroras, glaciers, blue lagoons and much more. Do you have anything to offer me in Iceland which is unexplored by man?
Off late there is growing interest in European tours. Some countries in Europe like Croatia, Czech Republic and Greece are becoming favourite tourist destinations. European countries that were known for modernism are now searching for their tradition. They are exhibiting the traditions from the past. Can you help me discover one of the forgotten traditions of Europe on our blind date?
The United States
I want to visit The United States because everyone who goes there never wants to return. I want to see why the country in so attractive. Everyone knows everything about The United States. But still you, The World, may have something hidden to surprise me on our blind date.
I am sorry if I disappointed you. I am such a fuzzy person. You will take me on a blind date and we will end up arguing. So I just made my stand clear.
I like to keep my world pure and pristine. Crystal clear like Diamond. Every place I visit, every person I meet, every story I hear and every food I eat becomes part of my World. I am sure you will understand my likes and dislikes and plan accordingly. I am waiting with excitement to go on the blind date with you. After all who can be a better companion to travel the world than you, The World. Hope that after this blind date my World encompasses the whole of The World.
I know you won’t reveal the whole world to me. You will still have some hidden surprises so that you unravel The World, during Blind Dates, to the mankind in thousands of years to come.
This Blog is written for Luftansa’s #SayYesToTheWorld #TheBlindList Campaign
‘My’ here refers to every woman in this world, without any differentiation of society, cast or creed. The common factor for every woman is that she has to manage cooking, washing, cleaning, taking care of children and the elderly and numerous other activities that make a house a home. Such works are called Unpaid Care Work in economics.
It is not a new word. The necessity of including the Unpaid Care Work in the GDP calculation was suggested 80 years ago. That will be discussed later in this post.
According to a report by OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) “Neglecting Unpaid Care Work leads to incorrect inferences about levels and changes in individuals’ well-being and the value of time, which in turn limit policy effectiveness across a range of socio-economic areas, notably gender inequalities in employment and other empowerment areas.”
There was a report in the newspaper that the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) will conduct a survey in the household to know about the Unpaid Care Work done by the women. The reason being:
the gap being created in the GDP
the valuable service of the women that is lost to the society
the equality between man and woman.
Whether employed or unemployed, a woman, according to studies 75% of the household work is done by women. And in India 700 women do household and unpaid care and their work are unaccounted for in the GDP.
From time immemorial the work done by a woman at home is considered as a duty. A dutiful woman wakes up early in the morning, before everyone else, and takes care of the entire family.
A woman having a job does two jobs every day. She hardly gets a break on a Sunday.
Statistics of Unpaid Work
Country Women Men Gender Gap Index
% % Rank
India 66 12 108
China 44 16 100
USA 50 31.5 49
UK 56.7 32 15
Statistics of 2017
Everything was fine. Women considered the household duties as their commitment and worked to the bones to do her best for the family. The outlook towards the household work, done by women changed when the UN did some GDP calculations. They discovered that there was the gap in the GDP of all the countries because the contribution of the women at home is overlooked. 13% of the world GDP was from the unaccounted Unpaid Care Work.
What do Celebrities say about their Unpaid Care Work?
There was a report that Serena Williams, who is also a mother, said she is finding it difficult to balance her profession and home. She says that managing the house and a profession is an art.
Exactly, she is right. Managing the home and the job is an art. Either you are a good homemaker or you are a good professional. As Indira Nooyi said once, ‘ Women cannot have it all’.
The first woman to voice the above sentiment, Anne-Marie Slaughter, later realized that ‘no one can have it all’. She gives her own example, where she is the main breadwinner. Her husband takes care (or more care) of the children. She refers to him as ‘lead parent’ and herself as ‘non-lead parent’.
Who sacrifices well paid, high-profile career?
Because of the scores of care and routine household works to be taken care of, many potential women employees give up their job or take up part-time jobs. Their non-participation is a loss to the GDP.
One disturbing trend, nowadays in Indian metros, is that well-educated women are giving up their jobs so as to take care of the family. A woman, in her early thirties, holding a prestigious position in a Bank, left the job to take care of the family. She is now doing some work from home.
(Time spent by both genders on paid and unpaid works in India)
Unpaid Work 297 31
Paid Work 160 360
Why women leave their jobs
The reason why the well-educated women leave their job is that their salary is minuscule in comparison with that of their spouse.
Or maybe they have inherited a fortune. So they feel that their income hardly make any differce in the financial security of the family. So they choose to remain home as their service is required more at home than the society.
Another reason could be that the salary that is offered is not in tandem with the expense they have to manage. When a woman leaves for work she has to appoint a maid for washing dishes and cleaning the house. Arrange tuition for the children. Arrange a reliable driver to take them to the tuitions and extracurriculars.
All the expenses amount to between 10,000-15,000. If you appoint a cook and home nurse then the expenses with be much higher.
If the woman is going to earn around 20000 per month, she feels that ‘sitting at home’ is better. She can do all the above-mentioned work with more dedication and she can save the travelling time and expense.
What are the consequences of excluding household production from national accounts?
It leads to misestimating households’ material well-being and societies’ wealth. If included, Unpaid Care Work would constitute 40% of Swiss GDP (Schiess and SchönBühlmann,2004) and would be equivalent to 63% of Indian GDP (Budlender, 2008). ‘OEC’s report on Unpaid Care Work’
How we perceive the household work?
Generally, the household work done by women is perceived as a leisurely activity because the work is not time bound. On the contrary that is not the truth. Women have to plan, stick to a routine and work in a time schedule only then she can accomplish her duties.
Household work also involves a lot of stress. Household duty is serious business. If she skips one activity in a day the whole family is affected.
If we convert the household services into money, the UN says that it comes to 13 per cent of global GDP. Since we fail to oversee the household work as a paid job there are some serious flaws in the GDP of the countries.
UN says that if the government does not take care of the situation then the growth of the country will be affected.
How should the household work be perceived?
Firstly the quantum of household work done by women at home should be given a monetary value. Secondly, the Government should be able to provide care systems, so that the women can go out and work in their field of interest. Their contribution is equally important for the progress of the nation. Unpaid Care Work is an essential determiner in evaluating the social well-being of a Nation.
What is GDP?
80 years ago British economists Richard Stones and James Meade formulated a method to calculate national income. Now it is being used as the global stand to evaluate the economic growth of a country.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) gives an estimate of the financial products of the country. The GDP measures both the income and expenditure of the good and services.
The woman behind Unpaid Care Work in GDP
Phyllis Deane, an apprentice, hired by these eminent economists felt that the Unpaid household work also must be included in the GDP. She argued that a vast amount of productive activity done by women was not listed in the GDP.
She contended that the labour of cooking, taking care of elderly and children, collecting firewood, is traditionally considered as women’s work. After months of research in villages in Africa, Deane concluded that an all-inclusive GDP, that increased National income, can be formulated only if all producer, including rural women, are accounted.
Her recommendation was not considered in the GDP calculation in the past seven decades. Now that the present formula is under criticism, Deans suggestion of including Unpaid Care Work (mostly female work) in GDP in being considered.
According to studies the number of people requiring care, elderly, children, the disabled and the ill will increase by 2030. If someone cuts down of a few hours of work or even relinquish the paid job in order to do Unpaid Care Work that will create a huge, irreplaceable damage in financial security.
According to a BBC report “Unpaid carers save the UK economy almost £60bn a year, suggests a new analysis of official figures by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). About 8% of the UK population living in private households acted as informal carers last year, the Department of Work and Pensions figures show. The ONS calculates that it would cost £56.9bn to replace these unpaid carers with paid workers.”
According to ILO report ‘Care work and care jobs for the future of decent work’s “If investment in care service provision does not increase by at least 0.5 percentage points of global GDP by 2030 from the current 6.4 per cent of global GDP (as of 2015), deficits in coverage will increase and the working conditions of care workers will deteriorate.”
Women do more underpaid work
ILO report further says, “In 2018, 606 million working-age women said that they were not able to do so because of Unpaid Care Work. Only 41 million men said they were not in the labour force for the same reason.”
Inequalities lower in high-income countries
Source: World Bank (2014), World Development Indicators and OECD (2014), Gender, Institutions and Development Database. “Gender inequality in Unpaid Care Work is also related to the wealth of a country. Time use data reveals a negative correlation between income and levels of gender inequalities in Unpaid Care Work: the distribution of responsibilities is the most equal in high-income countries.”
While living in such a fast-paced world it can be really hard to be up to date with all new trends. New research is being done every day putting pressure on all of us to stay in the loop.
It is not so different in the fitness world. New training routines and methods are introduced every month. So today I’m going to talk about fitness trends in the UK in 2018 and hopefully give you a better idea of what might be suitable for you as an individual rather than a mass user.
Ballet fitness is a unique fitness class to improve your grace, posture and fitness level. Classical ballet moves incorporated in challenging fitness routine. Which helps to connect your body and mind as well as challenge your physical ability. Ballet classes usually combine Ballet, Stretching and Pilates. Some classes can be very fast paced while others are slower. Also, some classes offer more technical ballet while others concentrate on fitness with just a few ballet elements.
I would highly recommend you to do very good research beforehand. Having a ballet fitness class in your routine once a week can really improve your flexibility and even confidence!
Small Group Training Studios
While for the past couple of years a big hit was low bugged big gyms, this year the new hit is small fitness studios for classes exclusive.
City centres, as well as suburbs, are full of small studios for classes. The range for these studios can be really wide. From cycling or circuit training to pilates, yoga, dancing or even meditation. The place usually comprises a very small space which can accommodate a max. of 20 people, creating a secure and exclusive place for training. They usually have a fixed timetable and quite a strict booking system. Prices can vary from £20 to £30 per session. As many studios are opening at the moment, every studio is trying to be as exclusive as possible, offering unique classes which are great for the user.
Yes, HIIT training is still very big in the UK!
What is it? High-intensity interval training is one of the most popular training styles to lose fat. HIIT trend started back in 2014 and now it is so popular that almost every gym offers a class.
HIIT class includes very fast pace followed by slow pace interval. These classes are very popular at lunchtimes as they usually last only for about 20-30 minutes. I usually incorporate HIIT Style in my workouts. And most of my clients find it the hardest part of the workout!
It all started with £2 pedometers and progressed to £10000 diamond encrusted iWatches!
Wearable technology got extremely popular this year in the UK. Probably every other person has got one. It comes in different sizes, colours, shapes and technical profiles.
British people are obsessed with sharing their progress with friends as well as challenging each other. This is a great way to be fit and motivated. Some bands or watches will send you a reminder if you have been sitting for too long. I always recommend my clients to get one to stay on top of their fitness.
While obesity alarm rises really high, the UK is trying to fight this really hard! This year, particularly, it has been really active regarding races. Charities, companies, schools, universities, associations and communities are pulling themselves together and organizing group events. From 3km walks to triathlons, we’ve been busy! Being a part of a running club or getting ready for a fitness event is now extremely popular. It’s so much easier to get motivated when you are in a group with others. People are encouraged to also involve their family and friends. Even sedentary people are trying to get involved.
Why not start with something along the lines of a 2k walk for your favourite charity? Doing things for a particular purpose really motivates people. Personally, I love this new trend.
As a personal trainer in the UK, I’ve learnt quite a few things throughout the last years. I can confidently say that fitness and exercising have become a really big trend in the recent years. With so much information available online people sort of became confused and started seeking professional help and advise.
Personal training is really big at the moment in the UK. You can hire a personal trainer to come to your home or any desired location including parks and squares. Some PTs do not train outdoors or do not travel – they have a base where they work from, like an exclusive personal training studio or a simple public gym.
Personal training is a luxury service and can be very pricey. Making sure that you have the right trainer is very important! My advice is that you do your research and go through a couple of consultations before signing up.
The 24h Gym
You might be wondering who would be going to the gym at night… You might actually be surprised!
The 24hour gym can get very busy during the night hours. Many night goers are students as well as shift workers. When for some people it seems like madness to train in the middle of the night, for others this is the only way they can fit in a workout within their busy schedules. You should be aware that most 24h gyms are unsupervised during the night and for security reasons changing rooms might be locked.
Unfortunately, there are no classes available during the night and I’m not sure if there are any PTs who would be willing to work at night. You might want to make sure that you have a workout plan in place. You can easily find a 24h gym near you. They are very popular in suburban areas within cities.
The growing popularity of social media has had a huge impact regarding online training and its development. A lot of personal trainers and coaches are calling themselves ‘influencers’ and ‘online couches’. Online personal training is very ‘price-efficient’ but it comes with its cons too.
Usually, online personal training means that the trainer is sending you a monthly programme, which means no face-to-face training. Do you really have to rely on your own expertise for correct posture whilst performing exercises?
Some trainers offer nutrition supervision along with the exercises. Doing good research is highly recommended here. Not all online trainers actually hold a fitness qualification. Some of them have just been training for years themselves and therefore think that they can also train others.
Be very careful and make sure your online coach not only looks good but do actually know what they’re talking about. Ideally, they would have fitness qualifications, talk to them and ask them where do they get their knowledge from. You want to make sure you’re in the hands of a professional when it comes to training and your health.
So many fitness trends around might leave you feeling confused… You might want to know where to start, so I’ll give you very simple but helpful advice.
Experiment and find what works for you in terms of your body and mind. Some people might like classes because it feels like working as part of a team. Others prefer personal training because they’re working on a one-to-one basis. Endurance training or HIIT training can be a good mixture to start with if you like cardiovascular activities.
A lot of my clients now want to concentrate on the way they move as well as getting rid of pains and aches. If you can feel that your posture is not correct or you’re having chronic pain then it might be good to start with some mobility work.
Sometimes not being part of the trend is also a good thing. As long as you can find what suits you, you should not feel the need to follow something just because it is popular!
Justina Triasovaite is a certified female personal trainer in London and also runs justinatraining.com, a site with useful information for those who are interested in general fitness and body transformation. A committed health and fitness fanatic, Justina is very passionate about helping people transform their lives.
The content is the views of the author. Does not repesent the perspective of Lifestyletodaynews.com
During 1924 deluge, Mahatma Gandhi, collected Rs 6000 for Kerala. Through his publication, ‘Young India’ and ‘Navjivan’ he urged people to contribute to the “unimaginable” misery. People donated gold and their small saving for the relief work of “Mahapralayam of 99” (Malayalam year 1099).
How similar are the two deluges
The flood in 1924 was in Travancore, Idukki, Thrissur and Kottayam. The same places were flooded this time too. The similarity ends there.
The great deluge of Kerala, 2018, is greater than the great flood of 1924. There was massive destruction of infrastructure and property. While thousands of lives were lost in the flood 100 years ago, thanks to the rescue operation in 2018, the heavy casualty was avoided.
If the water reached 6 ft then, now it was more than 8 ft.
Unlike in 1924, now Kerala was on the path of rapid development. Kerala has the highest development index. There are IT parks and Startup hubs generating jobs which in turn improved the quality of life of the people. There are hi-tech buildings and roads that lead to every nook and cranny of Kerala.
As the infrastructural development was at a rapid pace, the loss was also massive. 221 bridges were destroyed, 10000 km of road damaged and 3 lakh farmers were affected. The Government of Kerala has estimated a loss of more than $3 billion (Rs 20000 Crore).
Dream homes shattered
A house of one’s own is everyone’s dream. Kerala is famous for the huge mansions built along the length and breadth of the state. Even the poorest of the poor own a piece of land and a house in it. They make their houses as cosy as they can afford.
The flood completely destroyed 7000 houses, mostly of the poor. 50000 houses were partially damaged. Because the water gushed into the houses and engulfed the house for two-three days, some houses have become weak. They are not safe to stay.
Since furniture was not waterproof, most of the things were destroyed in the water. The water entered the cupboards, shelves and kitchen. Soiling the clothes, kitchen gadgets, cars, grocery and documents. They have nothing left other than the clothes they were wearing when they were rescued.
The earning of a lifetime was gone with the waters. Some of the houses were on loan. Now they need extra money to restore their homes. The houses are to be cleaned and sanitized. The electrical and plumbing lines are to be repaired. Books and uniforms are to be brought for children. Medicines were washed away.
In schools (especially government schools) the entire furniture, documents, books (including library books) and computers were spoiled. Restoring the schools is a mammoth task which includes labour and finance.
Some hospitals were also flooded causing damage to the medical equipment and medicines.
Some still in camps
The people of Kuttanadu are still in camps. The water has not receded properly. They are basically hardworking farmers. With a little support, they will back to life very soon.
Tragedy strikes twice
A lady tailor’s husband died suddenly of a heart attack ten years back. Her youngest child was 6 months old at that time. She supported her family of three children and in-laws by stitching. After the flood, only the house is left. Everything inside the house was destroyed.
Her story represents the story of more than one million who were displaced or remained on the rooftop until the water receded.
A heart-warming story
One man who lost a few of his household items in the flood gave a cot and a mattress to his neighbour. Because when he had lost only something his neighbour lost everything.
Funds Kerala received so far
The Central Government has promised Rs 600 crore. The donations in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund has crossed Rs 700 crore so far. In total Kerala has received around Rs 1300. And if the UAE Government provides Rs 700 crore, the aid will reach 2000. Still, the State needs ten times more funding for rehabilitation.
How the fund helps in rehabilitation
The fund will not only take care of the reconstruction of the roads and bridges but also help in rebuilding houses and rehabilitating the victims of the flood. The funds will also provide relief to the farmers. They had taken heavy loan hoping to reap a profitable harvest during Onam. Unfortunately, a few days before Onam, the crops were destroyed.
From now on we will call them ‘Our Fishermen’. This was not the situation until yesterday, Aug 18th, 2018.
Tsunami and Ockhi destroyed their homes and killed their loved ones. But we did not go to their midst to help them. Every other day there is a news of fishermen gone missing in the sea or dying. We consider such incidents are a part of their occupation.
But when the Fishermen heard of the tragedy of their fellow human being. They came risking their lives. They brought their boat which is their source of livelihood. Their act of kindness gave us the assurance that humanity still exists.
When the waters were swallowing Kerala like a giant monster, the fire force, the police, the locals, the navy and many others came to the rescue of the victims. But there were rough terrains which hindered rescue operation.
The MLA of Chengannur, in Pathanamthitta, lamented that at least ten thousand people in his constituency will submerge in the waters if help does not reach in time.
Then something magical happened on Saturday, August 18th. Out of the 54,000 rescued on that day from Eranakulam district alone, 18000 were rescued by fishermen.
It was a spontaneous decision on the part of the fishermen to rise to the occasion. Someone in the fishermen’s Association suggested in the social media about the help fishermen can provide, and they acted on the spur of the moment.
They did not wait for any invitation or financial assistance from the Government. They arranged the fuel and trucks, on their own, to transport the boats to the affected area.
The Fishermen took their boats from their native places Ernakulam, Mallapuram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Malappuram, Thrissur and Kannur. They took the country boats to Aluva, Chengannur, Chalakudy, Mala, Kodungallur, Kuttanad, North Paravur and other places.
The hills and the low lying areas were submerged in water. In some places, the water level was over 8ft. high. The furious water and the unpredictable terrains hindered the navy from carrying rescue operations in some areas. Thousands were feared trapped in submerged single storey buildings.
In 600 country vessels, 1400 warriors of sea formed teams and ventured into the ferocious water rowing against the current. The boat got damaged due to harsh terrain, low water and rough weather.
Sometimes the mobiles did not work. Some of them were bitten by the poisonous insects. They had to jump in waters, risking electrocution to rescue women, little children and elderly.
At one place the women could not climb into the boat. So a fisherman, Jaisal, provided his back to allow the women to get in the boat. He was an instant hero on the Social Media. But Jaisal says that compared to the daring rescue operations done by some of his friends, his act was nothing.
The tech-savvy younger generation fisher flock had a huge role to play. Some of them, who were students, decided to join the rescue operations. Some of them were successful in convincing their reluctant parents to take the boat for rescue and also to join and lead the team.
The fishermen have become overnight heroes in Kerala, just like firefighters became heroes on September 11 in the US. The fishermen are now called as Kerala’s Army and the superheroes of Kerala like Spiderman, Superman and Batman are superheroes of Hollywood.
Chris van Avery, a former American Sailor says in his blog “The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.”
The fishermen are chosen men of the sea who they call Kadal Amma (Mother Sea). They are a community different from others. They are called the Mukkuvan (which means fishermen) and live as a community near the sea. They have their own community rules and live one day at a time.
They were affected drastically by Tsunami and Ockhi. They venture into the sea for fishing even when there is a trawling ban. Because fishing is their livelihood and they believe Kadal Amma will protect them.
The famous novel, Chemmeen, by Thakazhi Sivanakra Pillai, in 1956, is about the fishermen community. The story is based on their belief that if the wife of the fisherman does not remain chaste when he is out in the sea, then kadalamma will kill him. The novel was made into a movie in 1965. The film was the first South Indian film to receive Indian President gold medal for a South Indian movie.
The fishermen are fearless and largehearted. During the shooting of Chemeen, it is said the fishing community opened their homes and gave boat for free for the shooting.
They are not dejected by the ups and downs in their life. When they go to sea sometimes they return empty handed and sometimes with a chagara (bounty).
They are non-materialistic. Remember the Nobel price winning Novel by Earnest Hemmingway ‘Man and the Sea’. In that story, a fisherman, who could not catch fish for 84 days, goes to the sea and catches a huge shark. He ties the shark to the boat as it was too huge to be put inside the boat. By the returned to the shore, he found that there only bones, the flesh was all eaten by small fish. He abandons the skeleton of the fish on the shores and goes home and sleeps.
The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, announced that Rs 3000 per day will be given to each member of the fishermen community. But Khais Mohammed, a fisherman, said is an FB post that they refused to take the money for saving lives.
Combatting natural elements is not new for Keralites. But, as mentioned in another post, Keralites were forgetting their skills to combat natures fury because of the invasion of technologies, consumerist culture and addiction to social media.
The ones (fishermen) who are even today sharpening their skill by battling the natural element, could save the rest of their fellow human beings.
Many functions are arranged to honour the bravery of the Fishermen. They never waited for any accolades or rewards. On 20th the rescue work was over and from the 21st the returned to the sea for fishing
Their only demand is that their boats must be repaired. They say the repairing work will cost between 1-2 lakh for each boat.
This flood in Kerala is probably the biggest flood after Noah’s time. The flood is not getting over in a day or two. The calamity is continuing for over 40 days now. It is raining and flooding every District of Kerala and places that have never seen flood are getting inundated.
People are reluctant to leave their homes because they can’t believe that their beloved rivers will flood their house to kill them. Most of them are being uprooted from their homes where they have been staying for generations.
The fire force, the police, volunteer and hundreds of army men are working day and night. They are concentrating on areas which are adversely affected. Two days back they were concentrating on Idukki, Kochi and Pathanamthitta. Now they are concentrating on Chengennur and Chalakuddi.
But the issue is there are people stranded in other parts too. On the road from Parumala to Thiruvalla, I know at least four houses where people are stranded on the top floor. In one house there are 20 people. Imagine staying on the terrace with limited food, no electricity, no television, and now no phone connectivity for four days. How do they defecate? I can’t imagine. Most houses have elderly staying alone. We are unable to contact them.
I think the navy and the army may not be able to reach these places because there are other places with bigger tragedies. But if these people are neglected for another day there will be tragedies like the one that happened in Chengannur (In Chengannur when the rescue workers reached a home a 90-year-old lady, her daughter and grandson were found dead).
What are the hurdles?
There is no forecast about which places will get flooded. On Friday the people in Pandalam were taken by surprise when the river started flowing through the town.
Flood water is entering some areas of Harippad and Mavelikara. People do not know how high the water will reach. They are waiting with their fingers crossed.
It is a relief to know that Pampa water is receding. So the stranded people on the Parumala-Thiruvallla route can relax. What if there is a heavy rain? Will the water level go up? We are worried. Ironically, the stranded people do not have any information about the water level. No information can be shared with them. Who can help them?
The relatives of those stranded in the Parumala-Thirvulla area thought that, in case of emergency, they can be rescued using boats. But there was disturbing News. A boat carrying 15 rescue workers in this area went missing yesterday at 5:00 PM and now their boat was found today morning in a secluded area with all the rescuers in bad health. They lost the way, or fuel got over, is not known. This incident shows boat rescue is not an easy option here.
All we want is the assurance that our relatives will be safe in their stranded places. We want them to have enough food and medicine. Who can provide us with this assurance?
We need more HELP
We need more expert help in Kerala. When there was a tragedy in Thailand the whole world came together. Right now Kerala needs the attention of the world.
Kerala is a State. Then towns, cities and villages of Kerala are well connected. Kerala has low lying areas, plains and highlands. So rescue operation is a challenge. So far, Keralites managed the situation like no one else could do. Now, the stranded people are spread all over the state. It is difficult to decide which place needs more help.
The relatives of the stranded people staying in other parts of India, and abroad, are able to make the best coordination. Yesterday one relative could send me an SMS that they are safe on the top floor. I could share the message with others. Now there is no more communication. Someone will be able to make contact, I am sure.
There are hundreds of Keralites waiting to help the victims. Churches, Youths, Voluntary Organisations, all are helping and more are willing to help. Yet the help is not reaching the people.
The biggest hurdle is that when thousands are rescued thousands of others are affected in another area. The calamity is unending. New Channels are unable to concentrate on one story. There are hundreds of stories of victims to share which can fill the newspapers for years. The calamity is so vast and unending that I feel we need help from every corner of the world.
If this post helps in saving at least one person from the flood in Kerala, my mission is accomplished. One of the worst-hit district in the flood in Pathanamthitta. My mother’s house is in Pathanamthitta district and I had spent my childhood vacations in some areas here. I got a lot of friends and relatives in different parts of the district. So I feel my article will give you some guidance to survive the flood.
Wednesday night there was a television announcement that there will be more flooding in Pathanamthitta. Pampa river was flooded and so there was red alert in the district. I called my relative whose house, I made a mental calculation, was away from the main road and close to a side stream of river Pampa. So there was every chance of their house getting flooded and they getting cutoff. I called them at 11:00 at night and they were oblivion of the grave situation. As I guessed, the house got surrounded by water next morning and they are stranded in the house. And their phone is switched off now.
Thursday Morning, there were news reports that Ranni in Pathanamthitta was flooded and water was rising. So I called a friend there who had earlier sent WhatsApp pictures of his house surrounded by water. He said the water was at the doorstep, and the water was receding. He said he was not planning to leave and in case of emergency he will shift to his neighbour’s house which is on a higher area. His phone is also switched off.
Then I came to known that a relatives house in Chengannur, which has never seen a flood before, was flooded. The houses in their neighbourhood were flooded so around 15 people were staying in their house. Thankfully water had not entered the house but there was water up to neck outside the house. I called them and asked if I should contact the rescue team to help them. They were unable to give a conclusive answer about whether they wanted to leave the house. The 84-year-old head of the family did not want to leave the house at any cost.
In the evening there was a news report that water will increase in Chengannur. So they were rescued by boat and shifted to their relatives’ houses.
Thursday evening I came to know that a relative in a low lying area, (My maternal grandparents’ place) has escaped to a safer place after wading through water, for 3 km, with kids. Earlier I was worried for them because someone had put a video of a roaring Pampa and warned people on the banks of the river to evacuate immediately. This relative resides on the banks of river Pampa. This area is a low lying area with paddy filed on both sides of the tarred road. Flood is an annual affair for the people here.
The children here learn swimming before they can walk. The can rowboat and catch fish. In my childhood, my cousins here used to hold breath and stay underwater and we used to count. In short, the children here know how to survive the flood. And they enjoy flood. The houses are built on a higher platform, so water won’t enter the house. So they can cooley sit on the veranda and do some fishing in flood water. During floods, costly timber sometimes floats and that is a big catch (watch the movie Naran to know more).
I called him after he reached his wife’s house, in a safer place. He said his house is single-storeyed and water was slowly entering the house. He only had phone connectivity. There was no electricity or social media, so he was unaware of the gravity of the situation. He decided to escape only when many people started calling him and requested him to leave the place. He said his neighbour, who has a two-story house, is still there staying on the second floor. They have no plans to escape.
I feel there is a difference between all the noise and the panic that is created online, and the situation of those who are facing the threat of flood.
We panic because we are flooded with images and videos of the flood. On the other hand, the people in Pathanamthitta do not have electricity. So they are not watching television. When we try to brief them of the gravity of the situation they are unable to grasp the issue.
They are trying to stay in their house and hold on to all their belongings.
When the water reaches the front yard, they wait. But once the water in inside the house they are unable to leave.
When the flash flood gushes in you are not given the time to carry belongings to the top floor. The friendly river is a foe for the time being.
Not all area in Pathanamthitta is flooded. One relative said they do not have dams nearby. Their house in on the top of a hill and the river flow at the bottom of the hill. So the water will not come to their house. They are praying that no landslides occur.
My feeling is if you are in Pathanamthitta and you have a river or a dam in the 4 km vicinity, then please try to move to a safer place. Or you make a mental calculation of the escape route so that things will be easier if there is a grave situation.
Don’t wait for the water to come knocking at your doorsteps. Move your valuables, food and drinking water to the top floor. If you have food and telephone, and no medical issues then you can wait patiently until the help reaches you.
Keep all the torch and emergency lights ready. If you have to make an aerial escape then a torch is useful. The rescue team on the helicopter can spot you if the torchlight is on.
You might be sitting assured that in case of emergency you can contact the rescue team and they will help. Actually, the rescue team is concentrating on people stranded from Wednesday. They will reach you but it will take time.
In many places, the rescue team has not reached because the calamity is so huge. The government is doing their best, and so is the army and volunteers. As natures fury is not subsiding the rescue work is increasing.
I write this post because I feel some of you who are under the threat of flood will read this post. And you will make the right decision to reach a safer place before the situation worsens.
Also, those who are away from home can guide their loved ones in flood-hit areas to reach safer destinations.