National Voters Day – Jan 25


When I read the paper today morning, it said at 2pm today, the District Collector would inaugurate the 60th National Voters Day event and thereby initiate the distribution of the Voters ID. Mom having applied 2 months ago, needed me to collect it for her.

So after a sumptuous lunch I took a lazy half hour break watching highlights of the 2nd half of last night’s Chelsea romp of Bolton.

Knowing how all inaugural functions in India start typically at +30 min Indian Stretchable Time [IST] I headed to the Boys HSS Kollam around 1430ish.  The numbers were just coming in and people were settling and as usual the eminent guests yet to arrive. As I lazed around adjusting my focal lengths on objects of interest, I came across a pamphlet with the program schedule and was excited to see that among the listed guests, was a Malayalam Actor Kundara Johnny! Probably most of you don’t recall him by name but this pic will say it all. Looking the very same, I was a tad excited of having seen him at arms distance for the first time. [Din’t carry my camera as the last thing I was expecting to do was capture shots of people from the Election Commission ;)]. Was kind of odd to see him drive up here in an 80’s model Ambassador  RESPECT

Eventually at 1530 when the final bell of the school rang, all the students ran out excited with the prospect of a holiday beckoning [Republic Day], and all of us who were eagerly waiting for proceedings to begin were not disappointed.

Some of the eminent guests were: Malayalam Actor Mukesh’s mom, District Collector, Olympian Suresh Babu and a student of the school who recently won the Gold Medal for the State Kalothsavam Kathakali.

One by One, each of them elaborated the beauty of democracy, the success of it in India, the power of the people and many more. It reminded me of the days while I was attending Social Science or Social Studies as it was called when I was in school.

This being a working day, as the time was passing by, almost 1500-2000 people had crowded up in the school and were waiting and waiting, desperately for the ID cards to be distributed.  What irked me more was when the Kathakali female started doing it on stage for like 20min!!

At around 1700hrs, we had reached the last speaker of the day, one Mr. Jayadevan, a professor of Political Science. His opening statement was, “I am a professor of Political Science, I am not bound by protocol or hierarchy of the government. I have the freedom of speech, and the right to dissent. I can do anything I want within the purviews of the law of the land…..” and he went on about how he has been an active participant of politics right from his college days, when all of a sudden, someone vented out his frustration by walking up on stage and asking him to cut the show short and distribute the cards immediately. Such was the worrying nature in which the mob was reacting that this man who was just talking about the laws of the land etc ended up saying “ Ok I am stopping!” and he left the podium to the most rousing ovation I’d heard all evening 😉

Immediately the Electoral Commission members decided, it is in the best interest to wind up the program and distribute the cards. And that is exactly what they did, and after all the waiting for close to 3 hours, almost everyone left frustrated with some people still not having got the IDs. J

I did feel privileged to be attending the “Eshwara Prarthana” and the National Anthem in the end. In fact I don’t remember the last time I stood in a crowd and sang it.

Olympian Suresh Babu pointed one very significant thing and that was the decision of the Kerala Government to initiate Physical Education as a compulsory subject in the curriculum of schools and I personally agree with him. Think it will do a lot of good to the all round development of students and at the same time help both students and parents understand, appreciate talent and maybe even pursue a career.

  • As always at a public event, lack of organization was written all over, with people turning up not being given the right guidance on the where and the what to do.

If you are an Indian, Non Resident or Resident, 18 years or more, please do apply for the voters ID, be a responsible citizen, and vote on the merit of your good judgement and not others.Put words into action and be Proud. Jai Hind

 

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Ganga, Yamuna, Upper Circle, Lower Circle


Ganga, Yamuna, Upper circle, Lower circle, 40|50|60. In a town as big as Kollam, the only thing lacking is a pVr or Imax or Big Cinemas! The college going and the youthful ones below 30s are no doubt the bunch who eventually decides whether a movie ‘makes or breaks’ here in Kollam. While some of the theatres hold tradition and history and have been around for a longer time, some have emerged more recently and are doing a fair job.

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On an average a movie runs only 10 -14 days, with Malayalam suffering the most and Tamil enjoying the best collection. Families throng the theatres preferably for first shows on weekends, and sadly I have seen a small % of people using the theatre merely for a 2 hour nap or to smoke up!

Dhanya theatre is the lead promoter of English films, and hence is my favorite among the lot. However Pranavam and the Archana Aradhana complex come fairly close. Prince –Grand and Kumar tend to run movies for a much longer period due to its mere location in the heart of Kollam and easy accessibility, though quality of service has deteriorated.

Kumar:  8.884361, 76.591007

Prince – Grand: 8.886124, 76.590529

Pranavam: 8.884515, 76.594834

Archana – Aradhana: 8.889555, 76.586766

Dhanya: 8.89135, 76.60351

So next time you are in town, you will know where to head for a movie!

P.S: There is an Adult rated theatre if I am not mistaken right in the centre of town, but I am not listing it here 😉

In the Name of GOD


Finally bought myself a bicycle and been more than happy to drive around town and capture photos. As a part of my effort to list the important places of Kollam on the world map [Google], here I begin with some easily accessible places in and around Kollam town, kickstarting off with a few churches and temples.

P.S. To see my uploads on panoramio, go here.

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Shiva Temple, Thamarakulam – 8.883307, 76.586230

Shree Ganapathy Temple, Thamarakulam – 8.881030, 76.591570

Puthiyakaavu Temple, Opp. Railway Station – 8.885167, 76.594124

Vasudeva Temple, Vadayattukotta – 8.886023, 76.588416

Ooramman Durga Devi Temple, Vadayattukotta – 8.886161, 76.588204

St. Sebastian Church, Convent Road – 8.886890, 76.585602

Velankanni Shrine – 8.889608, 76.585205

Mahadevan Temple, Anandavalleeshwaram – 8.89334, 76.573248

Shree Maha Ganapathy Temple – 8.890806, 76.574879

Moorthy Temple, Ammachiveedu – 8.889343, 76.572864

St. Antony’s Church, Vady – 8.882946, 76.573951

St. Peter’s Church, Moothakkara – 8.882660, 76.577148

The Art of Bribery


 

I am a person who has never been comfortable in any way to confront a situation involving bribery. I just somehow cant grab the hints these ‘People’ offer neither do I figure out how to go about it. Needless to say with the amount of corruption in India, it isn’t that hard to learn as and when the need arises.

Scene: A visit to the Village Office

Purpose of Visit: Requesting OBC Certificate

Belonging to the OBC Category [Other Backward Classes] has a lot of advantages as all my fellow colleagues know.  Being born and brought up outside India, it never struck me or my parents how important the certificates proving your religion, caste and creed are in the Indian scenario.

1330hrs: Arrive at village office, fill necessary application forms.

1345hrs: Meet Village Officer, verifies documents. Finds fault with one (apparently not genuine). Asks me to come back next day.

1430hrs: I come home, Pull a few strings. (Told to meet a middle man at the office. He will be waiting for me)

1630hrs: Arrive at village office, rings the middle man up. He sets up an appointment with the Village officer. (He repeatedly specifies I meet him ‘after’ the job at hand is done)

1700hrs: Requested Certificate ready

1715hrs: Meets middle man. He is seated with a number of his colleagues past the normal working hrs. I tell him I got the thing done and hands over an envelope (Rs.500/- ). 

Middle man: “No, No, it is ok. I do not need anything, This is just a small job.” 

Me: “Are you sure?” . 

Middle Man: “No worries”

1730hrs: Call from the party (the strings):

“Why did you not give the money?”.

Me: ”I repeatedly asked him and he said No thanks.”

“Did you give it in front of the others?”

Me: “Yes, only his colleagues, no one else.”

“Ayyooo. Now look what you did! Of course he will not take anything in front of others!”

Me: “Sorry?”

“Its ok now. I will collect the money later from you”

Inference:

  • There are certain etiquettes, norms which as an Indian citizen we should follow when it comes to bribing someone.
  • Since corruption as we all know is so common wherever we turn.. it might as well be better if we had some book on ‘10 Easy ways to bribe your way Around’ 😉

India is ranked at a dismal 87th in the Transparency International ranking of countries. Only we can help us.