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Day 1 of Unbox Festival filled with activities and entertainments

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. 

A Curtain Raiser to The Unbox Festival

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 Policymaking.

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 responsibility.

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 and collaborations.

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 the experiential.

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 chaotic.

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, The Unlimited 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.

Performances

UnBox Open House: Friday @ Bangalore International Centre

With: Seasonal Affected Beats (Tarun Balani) and Aural Eye (Alina & Daniel)

UnBox Afterdark: Saturday @ Foxtrot

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.


Babitha George, Co-Founder – UnBox Festival & Director – Quicksand Design Studio

7 Main features of Blog Compass

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
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.

Blog CompassHome

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.

Activity

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.

Topics

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.

Badges

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.

Posts

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.

Comments

You can view the number of pending and approved comments separately. You can also directly approve or remove the comment through the app.

Learning

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.

Kerala needs 10 times more fund for rehabilitation

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.

Estimated loss

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.

Schools destroyed

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.

Hospitals damaged

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.

How to #HelpKerala

Massive fund for rehabilitation is required. What we can do is to donate generously to the Chief Minister’s Distress relief fund.

Donate Online

Account number: 67319948232
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: City branch, Thiruvananthapuram
IFS Code: SBIN0070028
PAN: AAAGD0584M
Name of Donee: CMDRF

Providing material support

Almost every school and institution in India is sending material support to Kerala. You can contact the nearest schools and colleges to know if you can contribute in some way.

When the people are returning home from camps, empty-handed, they need the basic essentials to start their life once again. Some of the items that are required are:

  • Stationery for children (Notebook, pen, etc.)
  • Gas stove
  • Cookware
  • Nighties and Lungies (Unused)
  • Water resistant chappals
  • Rice and green gram
  • Mat (Chatai)

When warriors of sea rowed their boats on hills and rescued thousands

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.

People of Chengannur thanking the fishermen for saving their lives.

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.

Kerala needs help, situation worse than Thailand

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.

 

What happened when fashionable footwear became common in Kerala?

I don’t know when footwear became so common in Kerala. Because if you google ‘Kerala 1970’ or ‘Kerala 1975’ you will see that there are very few images of people in footwear. But one thing is sure that before the 90’s Keralites used to buy only water resistant rubber or plastic footwear.

In Kerala rain is unpredictable and in the bygone days, people had to walk a lot. There was no way to protect the shoes from getting wet. So in earlier days, people used to buy, water-resistant, rubber or plastic chappals.

And there was no compulsion for children to wear shoes to school because rain is unpredictable in Kerala.

When we went for the vacation during our childhood, to Kerala, we used to carry clothes that dry fast, and water-resistant footwear.

In the 1980’s, for instance, there were fewer private transports. People had to walk for 15-20 minutes, mostly on unpaved roads, to reach the bus stops. On rainy days there were potholes and puddles. That required durable footwear rather than fashionable footwear.

fashionable footwear

Since water resistance and design does not go together it was hard to find fashionable footwear in Kerala. If someone wore a fashionable shoe all eyes would be on those shoes.

From the 90’s there was an emerging fashion sense of footwear. Pointed and flat heals have become common. Sneakers and leather shoes are used as daily wears in the rain prone Kerala

Nowadays, everyone has a collection of shoes for various occasions. Yes, they own a pair of shoe for the rain too. But not the lacklustre plastic or rubber chappals of the yonder years. Now there are fashionable rainy shoes. And durability is not the issue.  What is more important is the good looks.

The 90’s is an important time period because it was in 1989 that an ad company gave Kerala the tile of ‘God’s own country’. The title changed the image of Kerala. And slowly Kerala became one of the sought after tourist destinations in the world. 1990 was also the beginning of globalisation and privatization.

A large number of Keralites started travelling aboard for work. People started getting exposed to other culture and there was more income. Also, a growing number of Indian and foreign tourists were visiting Kerala.

Keralites whether they were in Kerala or abroad, got exposed to other cultures. Cultural shock was reduced. The quality of life improved for Keralites. There were changes in the dressing also. Half sarees and sarees were replaced by salwar kameez. Rubber and water resistant plastic footwear were replaced by leather and designer footwear.

Own vehicles to travel

When you wear costly leather shoes, that can get spoiled in rain. Naturally, your concentration will be towards protecting the shoes from the rain. Most Keralites own vehicles like a car or a two-wheeler. Now there is no need to walk to the bus stands.

Front  yards paved with tiles

And the front yards are decorated with paved tiles. So there are no more puddles in front of the house. You can walk on the tiled pavements which are attractive and prevent the shoes from getting soiled.

fashionable footwear

Waterproof Houses

The houses and public buildings are now built rainproof. Not a single drop of rainwater enters the houses.  And the car parking is covered. you can get into the car without the shoes and clothes getting wet in the rain.

No space for rainwater to penetrate underground

The worrying factor is that when you cover the ground in front of your house with tiles, you are not allowing the rainwater to penetrated underground. When we use engineering and design to beautify the surrounding and protect ourselves from rain, do we play a role in the flood that hit Kerala?

Watching rain without getting wet

Before 1990’s people did not like to visit Kerala during the rainy season. Because the rain hampered the tour programme. But now people enjoy coming to Kerala because they can watch the rain, without getting wet, by sitting in the balcony or while travelling in an Airconditioned Car.

We think of rain as a spoiler when we visit Kerala to enjoy the lush green landscape. We forget that rain is responsible for the lush green landscape.

Building boundary walls, blocking rainwater

We build boundary walls around our property without leaving an outlet for the flood water to drain. In this way, we are preventing the rainwater from flowing and draining into the rivers.

Building houses inspired by the West

When we model our houses like those in Western countries, we must understand that those countries do not get rainfall like Kerala. When we build houses and public buildings, we must take into consideration the geography of the area.

What are the possible solutions?

Do not build houses on paddy fields

During this flood, many people were complaining, in television interviews, that the flood water cannot drain into the rivers or seas because their route is blocked by the manmade constructions. Some houses are built on the paddy fields, whereby the flood water cannot go underground in those places.

Do not block the route of the rainwater

There is a saying in Hindi “Paani apna rastha nahi bhoolta”. Which means water does not forget its route. If the water knows the way, the human being in the area also must be knowing the way the rainwater flows to drain in the river or sea.

Ensure that rainwater is able to penetrate underground

When we construct roads and houses, or hardscape the front and back yards, we must ensure that the rainwater is given its due space to seep underground or flow into the river.

Do not ignore rain and rainwater

We cannot live in Kerala by ignoring the rain. If there is too much rain then there is the flood. If there is a scarcity of rain then there is drought. A few months ago Kerala government was planning to produce artificial rain by cloud seeding because of the scarcity of water in some regions.

The manmade constructions are one of the many reasons for the flood. If we make some correction in the constructions of houses and public building, and it’s surroundings, we can prevent flood to some extent.

There is a saying in Malayalam, “Annaan kunjum thannaal aayathu.” which means “every little help”.  The proverb comes from the story of the little squirrel that helped Lord Rama in building the bridge. Lord Rama blessed the squirrel by stroking on the back. Which caused three striped to form on the squirrel. And Lord Rama said that the service of the small one also matters in the completion of a big project.

I feel that our houses are the smallest block of development in Kerala. We must provide options in our homes for rainwater harvesting and also for the excess water to flow into the river. Our small action helps in increasing the water table levels in our area.

In television interviews, you can see the flood victims blaming the government. We forget that we are also part of the Government. Some things we can also do. Instead of waiting for the Government to do something, we must take ownership of developing our village in an environment-friendly manner.

We are indebted to nature. In a State like Kerala, which is Nature’s bounty,  you cannot ignore Nature and her fury and carry on development.

In this flood, the water was around 5 ft high. A bigger flood had happened in 1924. The flood which is known as the great flood of 99 Malayalam Era (ME) is said to have risen to 12 ft. The flood killed thousands and washed away a rail line. Even in that flood the reason for the flood was said to a manmade construction – the breaches in the Mulleperiyar dam.

Find a rain friendly fashion

Nowadays we wear leather chappals that get spoiled in rain. And jeans that take a long time to dry. We must find an alternative fashion which is rain friendly. The design of our homes and garments must be rain friendly. We must enjoy getting wet and dirty in the rain.

fashionable footwear

When in Kerala blend with rain

When you are in Kerala, instead of finding methods to protect yourself from rain, blend with nature. Give rain the utmost priority in all your activities.

 

 

 

 

Mobiistar XQ Dual and CQ: The wide-angled mobiles designed for selfie enthusiasts

Are you a Selfie enthusiast? Then definitely the newly launched Selfie-centric mobiles of Mobiistar are for you. Two weeks back one of the top Vietnamese mobile brands launched two selfie-centric mobiles in India.

The selfie feature of the camera was the main highlight at the launch. When Mr Carl Ngo, Co-founder and CEO of Mobiistar, was asked why the ‘Selfie feature’ was mainly being highlighted, he said that he wants people to remember the mobile for the selfie features.

Mobiistar XQ Dual and CQ

How to buy a Mobiistar ‘Selfie’ Mobile

Mobiistar XQ Dual is priced at Rs 7, 999 and CQ at Rs 4999. Both the mobiles are available for sale on Flipkart from 30 May, 12 Noon. There are some interesting purchase offers for the mobiles on Flipkart:

  • You can exchange any old smartphone and in exchange, you can get at least Rs 1,000.
  • Protection for the hardware and software of the mobile is available for Rs 99. Broken screens and liquid damages are also taken care of.
  • If you buy a prepaid Jio pack before June 30 of Rs 198 or Rs 299 for the Mobiistar mobile, then you can enjoy a cashback of Rs 2200. You will be given vouchers. You can redeem Rs 50 voucher at a time for the next 44 mobiles recharges.

Mobiistar XQ Dual and CQMobiistar XQ Dual and CQ

The Indiblog Mobiistar, Selfie event

The event was a selfie-event. With Selfies every. Selifes like never before. The bloggers were divided into ten groups and each team was given a Mobiistar camera and asked to make a story only with selfies. And at least 15 selfies within 20 minutes.

Mobiistar XQ Dual and CQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advantage Mobiistar Selfie

Taking selfies with the Mobiistar mobiles was much fun because of the three distinct features:

  • The wide angle: Usually when you take a selfie you are forced to leave some element. For instance, when you want to take the selfie with a large crowd, you capture the whole crowd. The Mobiistar cameras have a wide angle feature. The selfie can be upto120 Degree wide.
  • The light exposure: For a perfect selfie, the right amount of light is essential. You can adjust the amount of light in the camera while taking a selfie.
  • The face beautifying feature: The tone of the skin can be brightened or softened.

Tips for those who fail miserably in taking selfiesMobiistar XQ Dual and CQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angles are very important while capturing selfies on a mobile. Like the two Cupcakes above. The cupcakes are placed at a specific angle so they look attractive. While taking selfies hold the mobile at a specific angle.

Follow the tip and fulfil you selfie dreams with Mobiistar selfie mobiles.

After 50 years of 300 films in 5 Languages, Sridevi bids adieu to this world

Sridevi, who was 54 years old died of a massive heart attack in Dubai on Saturday Night. We have seen her in movies for decades so we thought that she is older than what she looked. She was so young and active until her last breath that we never realized that she a going to celebrate her Golden Jubilee (50 Years) in the Indian Film Industry.

Sridevi, Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan was born in 1963, to Ayyapan and Rajeswari in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. She began her acting career, at the age of 4, in the Tamil movie Thunivan. From then on she acted in a number of movies in South India. She made her Hindi debut as a child actress, at the age of 12, in the famous movie ‘Julie’. And her first Hindi movie as a heroine was ‘Solva Savan’ in 1979.

 

In the 1980’s Sridevi became the sensation of Hindi cinema, where her fans adored her for her acting prowess, dance, beauty and timely comedy. She is known as the first Indian superheroine because of her pan Indian presence. Throughout her career, she has given a number of blockbuster films not only in Hindi but also in the South India Languages Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil.

In 2013, she was honoured with by the Government of India with Padma Shri, the fourth highest state award. She has won a number of awards both in India and abroad. She has won at least six Filmfare awards.

In a poll conducted by CNN-IBN, Sridevi was selected as the greatest Indian actress in the 100 years of Indian Cinema. She has been described as the ‘Empress of Indian Cinema’, ‘Queen of Indian Cinema’ and ‘Meryl Streep of Indian Cinema’, and so on.

Sridevi was literally a born actress, with natural acting and dancing talents. Even after taking a sabbatical of 15 years, she made her entry with the blockbuster movie ‘English-Vinglish’ – a movie which is going to remember the outstanding performance of Sridevi.

On the final day of her life, she was in Dubai for the wedding celebration of her husband’s nephew Mohit Marwah. Her husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Kushi, were with her. The elder daughter was in Mumbai as shooting of her debut film, with Karan Johar was going on. Like a true professional Sridevi did what she was good at until the last moments of her life. She was dancing, posing for a picture and entertaining the guest by meeting and greeting them. Her death reminds of the final moments of Dr Abdul Kalam, the former President of India. He collapsed while addressed students in a college.

Sridevi was at her elegant best even at the last few hours of her life. She has left behind a number of beautiful pictures and dancing videos at the wedding ceremony, as a parting gift. The videos and pictures will be cherished by the fans of the Heroine of the hearts throughout the Length and Breadth of India.