VIZHINJAM PROJECT

VIZHINJAM PROJECT

With great fan fare , a grand project to open a free zone in the Arabian sea , to facilitate port activities , was signed by the Chif Minister of Kerala State and Gautham Adani , a Gujarthi business magnate , was signed on the Kerala New Year day.

There is opposition to the project . It will allow free movement of smuggled things .

The scheme will be a security risk too , as ships can approach the rail ( bridge) unchecked .

The government will have to spend millions of rupees , even as the State is neck deep in debt.

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THIS IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT KERALAM =’text/javascript’ src=’

There is a slight nip in the air at night, otherwise it is pleasantly cool.
People are very polite and obliging to tourists, whether they are foreigners or Indians. Food is cheap. Now, all sorts of dishes are available, including Chinese.
The whole country is green and from the sky it looks like a long stretch of forests. You can easily make a trip to Lakshadweep islands (literal meaning is 100000 islands! )There are no dogs there, most islands are small and uninhabited. Being so near, I have dreamed of going there, but touring is not included in our family budget! And we are supposed to be above poverty line. I have never been inside a ship.
The northern half of Keralam is mountainous. At Ezhimala (mala is hill), near Kannur, the mountain kisses the sea and is worth including in your itinerary. Ooty is the highest township and was the summer destination of Europeans.
The southern half has a chain of lakes and Munnar (three rivers) paradise in the mountains.
Keralam is full of temples and churches and mosques. At Kochi there is a synagogue, though there there are no Jews. The town can boast of an air port, train terminal and a harbour known as the Queen of the Arabian sea.
You are most welcome to be my guest.

A MODERN PORT AT KOTTAYAM =’text/javascript’ src=

A very modern port was constructed at Kottayam, the business centre of Travancore. at a cost of Rs. TEN CRORE, financed by the Central Government. It remains un-utilised since its inception, some years ago.
The reasons are hurdles created by various departments.
By an effort of citizens, this can be overcome and the port used, at least now.
The river transport will be much cheaper, s it it is direct, towards the sea.

IT IS RAINING HEAVILY – TOMORROW IS NEW MOON

I like to walk in the rain!

Today it reminded me of those days when it used to rain for days together. We used to play chess, with pieces of the midrib of plantain leaves serving as chessmen. The 64 squares were drawn with chalk on the floor.

Our game will be interrupted when something hot comes from the kitchen.

When the rains stop, we go for boating.

12-6-10

This I wrote yesterday. Today the rain is still continuing. According to our elders, the new moon induces the clouds to form rain drops.  The satellite photo shows thick couds all over the sea and south India. There is no wind. The steady rains will fil up the wells and ponds.

God gives plenty of water. We allow it to flow into the sea, carrying precious top soil. All my writings about ways to conserve water and prevent soil erosion, have no effect.

LOW COST FLYING

Every day, the congestion on the roads is increasing. Express high ways cause controversies, especially in Keralam.

Low cost flights may be the answer, at least for passenger traffic.

In the nineteen fifties, people used to travel from Kathmandu valley to Pokhran valley in Nepal, in aeroplanes without air hostess, seat belts or food. Even ordinary workers and peasants used the aircraft, because it was the only way to travel in the country criss crossed with mountain ranges. They used to travel along with pick axes, spades and baskets.

A single pilot used to manage things. There were o accidents.

Such mode of conveyance may be tried from the Kerala towns, from Kasargod to Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu.

If low altitude flights are undertaken over the sea, the accidents caused by mountains can be avoided.

The cargo portion also may be used for passengers, thus avoiding delays and accommodating double the number of passengers, who may be seated on benches. Air conditioning may not be necessary.

ROBINSON CRUSOE (NAME OF A NOVEL)ISLAND NEAR OUR HOME

Some hundred years ago, many of my uncles have actually seen the construction of the Shoranur- Cochin railway line as a deposit work by the company owning the South Indian Railways.

The company never did anything in a Princely State like Cochin, unless the money for building it, is given to the company. Malabar was under British rule; so they built the line from Madras to Calicut, by 1862 and further extended it up to Mangalore.

The Raja of Cochin State must be a farsighted person, to realize the important link to the Queen of the Arabian sea, as Kochi was called. Rice for the state came from Burma by ship and it could be transported by rail to the northern districts. He had no hesitation in selling gold ornaments of Goddess Mahalaksmi (Ammathiruvadi) of Oorakam The line connecting Ernakulam to Quilon (Kollam), came up much later, in the fifties, first as MG and was  converted into Broad Guage afterwards.

At Eravakad, on the south bank of the R. Manalipuzha, is a small patch of fertile land owned by Akarakatil family. It was completely cut off from the land by the railway line, the embankment being very high and surrounded by rice fields on all sides and the river in the north. Up to Pudukad railway station, some two miles away, one has to walk. Now too it is in the same state. The railway bridge had only sleepers, and one has to stretch his legs , with only a trolley refuge to escape from running trains.

How a family called Akarakatil lived there, surrounded by water during the monsoon from June to August, and again during October-November (retreating monsoon), without electricity and any conveyance, with the sound of creatures like the frog and grasshopper, for company, is a frightening mystery.  In floods which were common before the construction of Peechi dam, water flowed across the family orchard!

When I was a young boy, a namboodiri of Kuroor mana was crossing the bridge. He saw Cochin Express, the fastest train at that time, and moved to the cage for trolleys. Seeing him move away from the track, the driver, who had seen him, went ahead in full speed. At that point, somehow, the namboodiri came out on to the track, to walk quickly over a few sleepers still left. He missed it by a second and was hit by the engine. He died on the spot.

At that time I was young and there were only a few trains. Now, the number of trains has gone up very high. Though the steel sheets over the sleepers have made it easy to cross the bridge, I feel nervous when I think of going over it.

Now there is a barrage at Muttikal which falls on the way from our village. So I crossed it and walked along a good pathway along the side of the river for some ten minutes. I could see the rail very near and took a narrow path which took me to the railway embankment. A flight of steps and then the house could be seen some hundred metres away.

The inmates must have been surprised to see a stranger in pants and shirt, approaching them. So I told them my name and address and the fact that I just wanted to meet them, without any purpose.

I was well received and we talked about Madhavan, a close friend of my uncle Vasudevapphan, both ardent communists and contemporary of E.M.S. Namboodiripad, the first communist in the world, to be elected democratically.

They eagerly bought my book and I was glad of the opportunity to wax eloquent about my pet topics!

We departed as close friends. Dr. A. Ramachandran who accompanied me up to the rail line , offered to take me across the bridge; but I preferred to walk back the way I came.

On my way back, I was surprised by a bright green, thin snake which crossed my path within a few inchess !

IMAGE IS BIGGER THAN THE MAN

Every one values his own image.

If we know one too closely, we will know that, he too is made of the same clay as we are made of. “No one is a hero to his butler”.

There was a photo and write up about late KPC Anujan, my friend, relative and a very knowledgeable person, especially in Samskrutam books and tantric rituals, in Indian Express newspaper, which I liked and kept it with me.

When Anujan visited us at CS puram gramam, where we were staying then, he liked it and took it with him. He said he liked the photo which conveyed his own image of himself !

A relative of mine killed himself, after financial losses, not because he became bankrupt, but his image as a clever man suffered a setback.

Shriram left his dear wife in the wild forest, to save his image in the public.

If we do not care for our image, why do we wear costly, fashionable dress?

Once I told my sister it will be thrilling, to spend the summer night in the sandy Bharathapuzha river bed, enjoying the cool breeze from the sea and the starlit night sky. She replied that people will think we are beggars !

Again, the image problem.

True sanyasis realise that the body and mind of man is just a creation of God; we have no role in it. We have nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed, even if we are physically handicapped.

Why be proud that I am so snd so etc. ?