Tag Archives: lifestyle today

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.

OMG! My Unpaid Care Work created a dent in the GDP

‘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.

Unpaid Care Work

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.

                                           INDIA

(Time spent by both genders on paid and unpaid works in India)

                                      Women          Men

Unpaid Work               297                   31
Paid Work                     160                   360
(in minutes)

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.

Unpaid Care Work

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.”

8 Fitness Trends in the United Kingdom in 2018

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

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.

Hiit

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!

Fitness Trackers

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.

Races

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.

Personal Training

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.

Online Training

 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.

Conclusion

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!

About Justina

 fitness trends in the UK in 2018Justina 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

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.

 

An overview of the flood situation in Pathanamthitta Kerala


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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.

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.

 

 

 

 

5 fathers of Science who were childless

A man who initiated a concept, or invented a product, is often referred to as the father of that thing. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi is known as the founding father of Indian independence or father of the Nation.

There are many fathers of science and invention who were childless. They were so dedicated to the work that some of them did not get married. Some of them were married but died issueless.

They had emotions and loved their families. They took care of their parents, siblings and children of siblings. Their commitment was inclined towards the greater common good.

Nicolaus Copernicus

Father of Astronomy
fathers of science
Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus is famous for the Copernicus theory, heliocentrism. He was a mathematician and an astronomer who formulate the theory that sun and not the earth was at the centre of the solar system.

Copernicus never married and did not have any children. He took care of the five children of his sister Katharina after her death.

Isaac Newton

Father of Physics
fathers of science
Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton is accepted as the father of Physics, for jumpstarting the scientific revolution. Newton’s 3 laws of motion are famous. Especially the third law of motion is quoted even by those who have no inclination to science. ‘For every action, there is equal and opposite reaction’.

He was a chronic bachelor. He divided all his estates among his relatives before his death.

Nikola Tesla

Father of Radio
fathers of science
Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was an engineer, physicist, inventor and poet, to name a few. We know a lot about his contemporary Thomas Alva Edison. Tesla worked for a while with Edison.

Tesla is the inventor of wireless communication. He is now accepted as a pioneer of wireless communication by the Science world. He invented the AC current. His contribution to the present day is so immense that there are many things named after him, like:

  • Teslas, an SI derived unit
  • Tesla an electric car manufacturer
  • Nikola Tesla Award

He never married and he said that he was doing a sacrifice for his work. Though he earned a lot of money as patents and contracts he was mostly penniless because of his zeal for investing in scientific experiments. He worked until the end of his life at the age of 84.

Gregor Mendel

Father of Genetics
fathers of science
Gregor Mendel

Gregor Mendel was an abbot or a priest. He was from a traditional farming background. Both financial and health issues came in the way of his studies. Yet he did get a formal University education. He was an abbot with a scientific zeal. He is said to have chosen the monastic life so that his livelihood will be taken care of while pursuing science.

He experimented with peas and learnt about traits of inheritance. His works are the first in the field of Genetic inheritance. The laws of ‘Mendelian inheritance‘ were rediscovered and understood nearly two decades after his death. And he was accepted as the ‘father of modern genetics‘.

He was a monk. His sister Theresia helped him with his studies by giving him her dowry. Later he helped her three sons and two of them became doctors.

Leonardo da Vinci

Father of Palaeontology and ichnology
fathers of science
Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is famously known as a painter. He was also a scientist, philosopher, architect, mathematician and writer, to name a few. His paintings are still being decoded for the layers of mystery.

He was a bachelor and an illegitimate child of his father. He had twelve step-siblings.

He divided all his assets among his devout disciples, siblings and serving-woman.

Fathers of Science who had children

There were many more founding fathers like Perrie Curie, Albert Einstein and Hippocrates. They had wives and children yet they had sacrificed their lives for their work.

Mother of Science

It is said that Perrie Curie’s, wife Marie Curie, daughter and son-in-law died of died of diseases related to high exposure to radioactive substances. Marie and Perries had accidentally and voluntarily been exposed to radioactive substances during their experiments to discover polonium and radium. (Marie Curie is known as the mother of modern physics).

A salute to all the Fathers of Science on this fathers day for their dedicated, courageous and undying spirit for discovery and invention.

Happy Fathers Day!

(Thanks to the Suggestive Topic on Blog Compass, the Gooogle Apps for Bloggers. Yesterday ‘Fathers Day’ was one of the trending topics on google. I got inspired to write a post dedicated to all the fathers in the world.)

Recollecting the visit to Kuala Lumpur in 2008

Recently, while planning for a tour abroad I recollected how tour itinerary was so different ten years ago. In those days travelling abroad was a luxury and we made sure to inform everyone (friends, and relatives) about our foreign trip before and after the travel.

After the tour, there used to be a souvenir of the place, proudly displayed in the showcase at home. When someone goes to Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia, they will buy a miniature replica of Petronas tower as a souvenir. The twin towers were the tallest buildings in the world until 2004.

A few of my friends travelled to Kuala Lumpur in 2008, via Singapore. I could not make the trip so they shared some pictures of their travel.
Unseen Malaysia | 41 Bucket-list-worthy Destinations

Unseen Malaysia | 41 Bucket-list-worthy Destinations. View the interactive version here

Today I opened the Malaysia tour file of 2008 and compared them with pictures available, on websites, of Malaysia today. The concept of travel has changed in the past 10 years.

In those days the purpose of the tours was to visit important tourist destinations in a country. There used to be a guide who took the tourist around to the important travel destinations in the city and the suburbs. While visiting a tourist destination the main activity was to take pictures posing in front of the famous buildings to show to friends and relatives back home.

Visiting the famous marketplace of the tourist destination is a must. Malaysia is famous for colourful silk shirts. When someone wears those silk shirts or skirts in their hometown people know that he visited Malaysia.

Those were before the selfie, camera-mobiles, and FaceBook days. And we used to share pictures via pen drives…… or floppy discs (I can’t recollect).

Today a lot of importance is given to food. Tourists want to know were to get exotic food, local food, street food and affordable food.

Tourists are interested in activities other than just visiting theme parks and enjoying rides. They like to paraglide, snorkel, and hike. And of course, take selfies of all the activities and upload on Social Media.

Here are a few pictures from Kuala Lumpur tour, of my friends in 2008. The place, Malaysia in general and Kuala Lumpur, in particular, was beautiful and attractive then and now.

Many new attractive ‘must visit’ destinations have come up in the past 10 years. Now the nature of tourism has evolved and involves a lot of activities other than time-bound sight-seeing.

The tourist destinations that my friends visited in Kuala Lumpur in 2010 are still popular tourist destinations. Check out the picture from my friends’ memoirs of 2008.

Petronas Towers

The iconic Petronas tower is the first thing to visit in Kuala Lumpur. Selfies in front of the towers in a must nowadays. Petronas was once the world’s tallest twin tower, until 2004.

visit to Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Towers, Morning View
visit to Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Towers, night View

Tugu Negara

Tugu Negara is a National monument, in memory of the soldiers who laid down their life for the freedom of the country. There is a beautiful fountain in front of the monument.

visit to Kuala Lumpur
Tugu Negara
visit to Kuala Lumpur
Beautiful fountain in front of Tugu Negara

Genting Highlands theme park

I was a bit confuses whether the pictures were of Theme park in Singapore or Malaysia. My friend confirmed that the pictures are of the Theme park in Genting Highlands. Theme parks provide a lot of entertainment. The hill station of Genting Highlands is known as the resort town. You can stay at the Genting Highlands hotels and enjoy the varied range of entertainments and activities in this popular tourist destination.

visit to Kuala Lumpur
Genting Highland Theme Park

 

visit to Kuala Lumpur

Genting Highlands

Thean Hou Temple

The large temple is of the Chinese Sea Goddess Mazu. It is a popular tourist destination in Kuala Lumpur.

visit to Kuala Lumpur
Thean Hou Temple

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

A historic building, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, was used as Offices during the British regime. Now the building is of Ministries of Tourism and Ministry of Communication and Multimedia.

visit to Kuala Lumpur
Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Batu Caves

Batu Caves is an important Hindu Shrines outside India. There are a number of Caves and temples on the Hill. Lord Murugan is the main deity here.  My friends could not climb the 272 steps and visit the caves and temples. They took the picture of the huge Murugan Statue (140ft) from a long distance.

visit to Kuala Lumpur
Sri Murugan’s Statue at Batu Caves

K L Lake Gardens

K L Lake Gardens is a splendorous group of gardens. There are different gardens like the rock garden, butterfly garden, deer park and so on. There seems to be no monkey park, but they are the star attraction of the garden. The carefree attitude of the Monkies makes them a tourist attraction and the favourites of shutterbugs.

Visit to Kuala Lumpur
K L Lake Gardens

visit to Kuala Lumpur

Walk through History

There are so many well preserved historic buildings and well-kept roads. You can take a stroll through the road for fresh air and enlightenment.

visit to Kuala Lumpur
A walk through Kuala Lumpur
visit to Kuala Lumpur
A walk through Kuala Lumpur

Overhead  view from Petronas Towers

To have an overhead view of Kuala Lumpur, you must go to the Sky bridge on the 41st floor of Petronas Tower. You can view and take pictures from the sky bridge.

visit to Kuala Lumpur
View of Kuala Lumpur from Petronas Skybridge
visit to Kuala Lumpur
View of Kuala Lumpur from Petronas Skybridge