It’s A Really Dark Late Afternoon

Looks like it’s gonna rain pretty heavily this evening. It’s been so hot and humid this past several weeks that some rain is quite welcome. Now, I know a brief shower just makes things worse and makes it more warm but good solid rains and monsoon winds cool things down here a lot. It rained a couple of times the last few days and I hope it picks up and we get an early monsoon season.

The nights could use some cooling down. Once I close the windows in order to keep the mosquitoes and various other insects away (yes even on the 7th floor we get flying insects) it starts getting a bit warm and on some nights it’s so hot and humid that my sheets stick my thighs due to the sweat. Like a friend once said to me on a particularly humid and sweaty March evening back in 2007 “How do people here have sex in this heat and being so sweaty?”

His joke withstanding I do understand the need for some cooling down. It’s gotten quite dark outside now and it’s not even 4pm! Guess that heavy rain is going to fall any minute now.

Fuck; These Morons Are At It Again

Here we go again:-

A division bench of Kerala High Court Tuesday ratified the new liquor policy of the Congress-led government, which had envisaged the closure of all liquor bars except those in the five-start category. The division bench also nullified the single bench order which allowed liquor licence for four-star and heritage hotels.

However, the court ratified the government decision to amend its liquor policy to allow beer and wine parlours in closed bars. The beer and wine parlours were allowed in the closed 418 bars to address the loss of jobs and cushion the impact of the new liquor policy on tourism and hospitality sectors. With today’s decision, the 312 three and four star hotels now operating can apply for only beer and wine parlour licences. Bar hotel owners association said they would challenge the verdict in the Supreme court.

What is wrong with these idiots in politics? Democracy is not for you to abuse your power and make decisions based on your own biases and agendas. Let people decide if they want to drink or not or eat a certain food or not. If you don’t like them don’t eat or drink them.

It’s time to get rid of these bastards who are dragging India back to the 13th century!

Common Courtesy When Taking The Bus

One of the many things I have noticed while riding in the buses in the city. People, most people do not care about what sort of bother they do to others in the bus. From leaning hard with their backs on your hand when you are holding onto the post, to squeezing in to their “preferred” position at your expense so that now you have to move or stand awkwardly close to them (which they may not have an issue with but you will) to putting their arms or upper body as well too close to you. Again, being inconsiderate seems to be the norm here.

When moving away from the door towards the middle of the bus which has a lot of room might make sense to you and me, it seems to escape most of these morons. Standing near the door to get the maximum view and air and proving a nuisance to anyone who is trying to get into the bus at the next stops, is so common over here. As is talking loudly to their friend in the bus or on their mobiles. Another irritant is knocking your hand that is holding the bar above while you are standing and they want to move forward – what manners did their parents teach them? None, apparently!

Though falling asleep in their seats and becoming a bother to you as they move about involuntarily can be forgiven, a little consideration for the stranger next to you is not too much to ask. And keeping you hand up as you sit too close – none of us want to smell the stench of your armpit buddy! I know they won’t change, having grown up without a thought about other people cannot be untaught as easily as it is to raise ignorant and disrespectful people. But if you read this perhaps you will think about it the next time you take the bus.

……And The Power Goes Out, Again!!!

It was a frustrating morning. From 3:45 am the power has gone out 6 times today. Leaving me a hot and sweaty mess on the bed. I haven’t gotten much sleep since and I’ve been whining on Facebook, Twitter & whatsapp left, right & center. After the beef ban, perhaps electricity is the next to go on the chopping block! Here are some of my rants:

“Wonderful. Power goes out twice in the early hours of the morning. Once at 3:45 am and comes back at 5am and then again 30 mins later. Just got the power back on again. Haven’t been able to go back to sleep. Hot and sweaty and my sheets are sticking to my legs. My pillow is wet as is my head. Fucking humidity. Fucking KSEB morons! Fucking everything. And I am tired and sleep deprived!”

“Power goes out for the 4th or 5th time this morning and it’s only 9:05 am! FANFUCKINGTASTIC!”

“Waiting for the fucking power to come back on!” – on Foursquare!

“And the power goes out again! For the 6th time this morning!
Did the Indian government ban electricity too? I mean, electricity is not as per Indian culture right?”

“Pretty soon we will ban Western style toilets – #Breaking News, Indian government declares proper toilets are anti-Indian! “We only need a hole in the ground and a large leaf! Just like ancient Indians did!” was the statement.”

Night Sky Fireball Update

Here is an update on the ‘fireball’ spotted in the night sky on the 27th of February:

A suspected depression or an impact crater, believed to be caused by a ‘fireball’ spotted on Friday night in several districts of Kerala, has been located in Karimalloor village in Ernakulam district today. The disaster management team which rushed to the spot suspects the crater could be caused due to a meteorite fall. “The samples collected by the revenue department have been sent for further verifications to GSI”, said Sekhar Kuriakose, heading the disaster management team.

Residents of Thrissur, Ernakulam, Fort Kochi and Kollam tweeted seeing the ‘huge fireball’ between 10 pm to 10.30 pm. According to the residents, a flash was seen across the sky and few cents of land in 2 different locations of Ernakulam district where the crater was noticed were also found charred. The locals said they felt tremors and witnessed sounds with the passing of the ‘object’. However, authorities of the Disaster Management team dismissed speculation that the ‘fireball’ could be celestial debris, as the consortium of space agencies closely monitors any space related activities and would have notified the management of any such appearance.

Mr Kuriakose even dismissed the ‘object’ as anything related to ‘metal’ as Air Traffic Control radar system would have recorded it. Meanwhile, science author and cosmology researcher, Rajagopal Kamath, said that the ‘fireball’ could be “a rocket or satellite debris. It also could be stony chondrite meteorites as in many places people have claimed that they have seen a bluish flame, which is peculiar to any meteorites.”

Latest update : IT WAS a fragment of a meteor!!

Fireball Seen In The Kerala Nightsky

It was a scene from a science-fiction movie last night. As I left my apartment building at 9:45 pm last night to get to Kacheripady junction and make my way over to the office, I saw a bright light, mostly white light, in the sky. I looked up as it faded away and couldn’t figure out what the heck it was. There are a couple of automobile garages / workshops near my building and I just figured that it was some work going on in there with torches and stuff. Even though it shouldn’t have light up the night sky like that. But using that as an explanation and because I wanted to hurry to the junction, I shrugged it outta my mind.

However it wasn’t just me who saw it and there was panic across the city and state. The sighting of suspected fireball-like phenomenon, reportedly accompanied with booming sound in some cases, triggered panic across the city and its suburbs on Friday night. As news spread like wildfire, people came out of their homes in droves in many places with their eyes cast towards the sky. Similar sightings were reported from many parts of the city such as Vyttila, Kakkanad, Vypeen, Palarivattom, and Kathrikkadavu and even from suburbs such as Paravur, Kizhakkambalam, Mazhuvannoor, Kolancherry and Fort Kochi. It was by around 10: 30 pm that the various media houses, police and the fire stations in the city started receiving calls from in and around Ernakulam informing them about some outlandish activity in the sky. Social media too was abuzz with reports about the sighting.

People who witnessed the unnatural event were gripped in fear as they thought it to have hit the ground. The fireball left behind an orange trail as it descended. According to reports it must be debris of meteor disintegrating as it entered the earth’s atmosphere. Another possible explanation is junk debris from an old Chinese rocket.

But we all know that it is a cover up – it is the beginning to the first wave of an alien invasion! Save yourselves

The Return Of A Favourite Watering Hole

So after all the hullabaloo and the closing down of several bars in the state, wanting to close down the beverage cos that the government itself had opened to sever the tipplers of Kerala, one section wanting to close down of the remaining bars and the threat that the banning of all alcoholic beverages might become a soon threat, things have slowly settled down and the drinkers in Kerala have either curbed down their drinking or still continued as if nothing happened. As for me, considering the fact that I haven’t been drinking for over 1.5 years anyway (except for 5 occasions) my drinking has undergone some change.

For one, I have only gone out to a bar twice to drink and both times I stopped at one beer each. The price of everything has gone up (due to the stupid government increasing the tax for said alcoholic beverages) and hence it isn’t very appealing to me. Also the bar that I went to on both occasions tends to price their wares much higher to keep out the riffraff. Last weekend I had a party that I attended and we drank a lot of beer and the rates were reasonable anyway. I will soon have drinks a little more frequent than usual and start getting some vodka, which I miss a lot, and enjoy a few drinks with friends and relatives.

I also learned last evening that one of my favourite bars, Velocity, which had to close down last year as they lost their license for not being a 3 star lilly cialis hotel rating has reopened – yes -as a bar & wine parlour which they were able to get the license for. The hotel that they are attached to isn’t that great but their food is ok and it is a great place to relax in. So my cousin and I will try and go there very soon and I will post some pics and blog about it as well.

Changes In Asianet’s Basic Unlimited Plans

Two  good things I  got to know this morning with regards to broadband internet in India. One : Even though the government haven’t taken any steps towards implementing it, the NTP 2012 recommendation of minimum broadband speed of 2 Mbps is supposed to be rolled out by 2015 year end. And two : my ISP, Asianet, has taken a self initiative to increase their unlimited basic broadband plan speeds. Now these are not blinding speeds that you usually see in developed countries in the West. But for me these match my current requirements.

For example the two Unlimited basic plans were the Rs.450 plan which had 512 kbps speed and the Rs. 510 plan which has a 700 kbps download speed (the latter is the plan I have signed up for). Asianet now offers, as of 12-Jan-2015, a 700 kbps for its Rs 450 unlimited plan up from 512 kbps and 1 Mbps for Rs 510 unlimited plan from earlier 700 kbps.

Post FUP speed for other unlimited plan still remains at 512kbps. These plans provide ultra affordable true unlimited broadband at decent speeds. Most ISPs were reluctant to increase minimum broadband speeds to current 512kbps when it was implemented last year. Even though NTP 2012 recommendation of 2 personal loans for people with poor credit Mbps is still a long shoot, it is good to see a regional player like Asianet has made a small step towards it.

A “Small” Victory

It is a small victory for the tipplers and bar owners of this state. Basically admitting that their hurriedly-declared liquor policy is a big FAILURE, the government has decided to scrap dry days on Sundays and allow conversion of 418 bars, that were closed down, as beer and wine parlours. With the changes announced on Thursday, all the 730 bar hotels in the state will remain operational provided the hygienic standards are met. A special Cabinet meeting on Thursday also decided to reduce the total working hours of bars by two-and-a-half hours per day from 15 hours to 12.5 hours.

“On the condition that all existing employees should be reinstated, all the hygienic bars operated till March 31, 2014, will be given beer, wine parlour licenses. Since they had operational sanction till then, licenses would be considered in-continuation with those licenses,” the Chief Minister said. A decision was also taken to close down 16 outlets along the National and State Highways by January 1, 2015.

Changes are being brought in based on the reports submitted by Labour and Tourism Secretaries on the impact of the liquor policy and issues related to job loss of employees and setback in the tourism sector. “There are no changes from the earlier decision not to grant bar licenses to three and four star hotels. Decision on licenses to five-star and above would continue,” he said. Based on the HC observations, the Cabinet also decided to close down 10 pc of the total outlets – Bevco and Consumerfed – operating along the National and State Highways.

Kramer In Kozhikode (Calicut)

I can’t believe I never posted about this before. Well, this post is courtesy of my current tv series watching schedule. I am currently watching or I should say rewatching, the entire Seinfeld series starting from season 1. I have watched Seinfeld on cable tv before but it was a few episodes here and a few episodes there so I haven’t seen more than….let’s say 50% of the episodes. Now in the beginning I didn’t think much of Seinfeld as a show but it was being shown, 5 nights a week, on Indian cable tv just before FRIENDS and I loved FRIENDS. I have learned to have a much better appreciation of Seinfeld since then and hence the watching of the series.

So now to the actual post, back in 2002-03 I live in Calicut (the city has officially changed it’s name to Kozhikode but I still prefer & use the old name of Calicut) for a total of 8 months while I was under the employment of a now defunct company based in that city. While there I stayed in a single room in a lodge and I had two of my colleagues also living in the same lodge. Most mornings we’d meet outside the gate and go to a small mess right opposite our lodge for breakfast and then take a bus or share an auto to the office. In the evening we’d either go to the mess or one of 3 small restaurants within walking distance from the lodge. At one of these restaurants, which we preferred because the food, though more expensive, was the best we’d meet Kramer.

Not the actual Kramer ofcourse but the waiter who usually served us bore a striking resemblance in looks, height but mainly in hairstyle to Cosmo Kramer (played by the actor Michael Richards). And this waiter was weird, looked like he had slept in the clothes he was dressed in, hadn’t combed his hair since the mid 90s and was a bit rude and obnoxious not just to us but to other customers as well. When I first saw the guy, I did a commendable job of not shouting “Hey, look it’s Kramer” and later explained to my two companions as to who Kramer was (they hadn’t seen the show) and hence we always referred to the waiter as Kramer. Towards the end of my stay in Calicut and me and another colleague had gone to the restaurant and at the end of our meal, I explained to the waiter about who Kramer was and that he bore a striking resemblance to the funny character.

He seemed to like that a lot and he actually smiled for us – first time we had ever seen him smiling!

The “Kiss Of Love” Movement

It all started in the city of Calicut (Kozhikode in the local language). The “kiss of love” protest was planned after Hindu activists vandalised a cafe in Calicut city last week saying students were using the place to date. A disgusting report on a local News channel (who should be ashamed of themselves for creating a sensational type report) deploring the newer coffeeshops that have opened up near the beach area, a popular hangout for the youth of that city, secretly recorded young lovers (I assume that these are college age and perhaps just out of college kids) meeting in the private area behind the cafe “Down Town” and engaged in kissing and hugging. After the report was aired on tv, goondas from the Yuva Morcha group assaulted the cafe and it’s owners, causing damage to property as well.

Just days after that activists formed a small group and gathered massive support online via Twitter and their Facebook page. Their plan was to gather at the Marine Drive in Kochi (formerly Cochin) city on Sunday and kiss in protest. Dating and public displays of affection are still largely taboo in India. People of all ages, income brackets and ideologies soon joined in and supported the cause and made plans to meet up at Marine Drive. However, organizers failed to reach the proposed protest site after being taken into police custody as a preventive measure to ensure violence didn’t break out between them and hardline Hindus and Muslims. They were bundled into police vans about a kilometer away from Marine Drive, the proposed protest site. K.G. James, Kochi’s police commissioner, said 32 protesters were taken into police custody as a preventative measure and released a couple of hours later. They were not charged with any offence. Protests inspired by the event in Kerala were also held in other parts of India including Mumbai and Hyderabad on Sunday.

Meanwhile, organizers said their personal Facebook accounts were temporarily suspended and a page created to garner support was removed for several hours on Monday. The page has amassed over 74,000 likes since it was created last week. By late afternoon on Monday, it was accessible again. Soon after the original page disappeared, a replacement page was created and included a post containing a line by Chile’s Nobel-Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda that read, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” Facebook said the page received a large number of reports for spam and that’s why it was taken down. Users can report any page created on Facebook and can select options including “It’s harassing me or someone I know”, “I just don’t like it” or “Something else” when lodging a complaint. The page was restored back in a few hours.

This event may have had met with a “failure” in reaching it’s meeting point and having the organizers taken in by the cops (while the violent activists were roaming freely) but it succeeded in lighting a fire in the belly of most free thinking people in the state and elsewhere. Similar protests and actions are being organized in solidarity and we will see a sea change in the nation. No one has the right to beat up people who express their affection by kissing or hugging and no groups have the right to enforce their so called “morals” on the rest of us. Disgusting comments by backward thinking people – “If it was my sister seen kissing in the cafe then we would kill her” – screamed on comment on Youtube! The rights of the girls/women in her own life be damned! What do these people expect – that their sisters are only to be kept at home, learn cooking and then marry & have sex & later babies with the guy that their parents choose? She is to have no say in the matter at all? Thinking like this should be left in the 16th century where it belongs. I can’t believe this nation came up with the Kamasutra!

The Merry-Go-Round Of Kerala Politics

In Kerala we have this wonderful situation : When one party is in power, the opposition accuses them of illegal activities, crimes and corruption and will files cases, demand investigations and hold dharnas & harthals against it. In a few years the roles are reversed and the same two political goondas are at it again – the opposition is now in power and has to deflect the alleagations of illegalities, criminal & corrupt activities. And more cases filed, investigations, harthals and strikes.

All this causes unnecessary tension, strife and a whole lot of money and time wasted. And in the end WE the public are the big losers.Again and again and again!

Isn’t it high time Kerala did something about this? We know they are corrupt and greedy and liars – why do we keep electing them?

Two & Three Star Bars Get 1 Month Reprive

In a major relief to two-star and three-star bar owners, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday held that status quo order obtained by them from Supreme Court against the closure of bars would be valid for a period of one more month. With the High Court order, the bars will remain open for a month from Friday evening. The Bench, which observed that the appeals merit a deeper examination, held that the order issued by Supreme Court directing the state to maintain status quo in the implementation of the abkari policy needs to be preserved for the time being, pending consideration of the appeal. On the observation by the Single Bench that the hotels with classification of four-star and above are not frequented by youth, students or the less affluent sections of the society, the Division Bench said that “it does not agree with this proposition. The rich man alone behaves properly and the poor will not, is against the mandate of the Constitution of India and the will of our country”.

The relief was given by Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph while considering the appeals filed by the bar owners seeking to quash the Single Bench order which granted permission to function hotels having four and five star and heritage categories. The state will file an appeal on Tuesday against the Single Bench order directing to grant licence to four-star hotels. The bars cannot function for the next two days. Hence, there was no need for an interim order and the court can consider it on Tuesday, the counsel for the state argued.

Kerala Bars To Be Restricted To Heritage, 4 & 5 Star Hotels

In a much awaited decision, the Kerala High Court on Thursday granted partial clearance to the new abkari policy of the Kerala government, paving the way for the closure of all 2 star & 3 star bars in the state. It however allowed bars attached to four-star and heritage category hotels in the state to function. Justice K Surendra Mohan held that “the abkari policy, to the extent, it excludes hotels having four-star and heritage category hotels from the eligibility to be granted FL-3 licences under the Foreign Liquor Rules (FLR), is set aside, being arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. The consequential amendments to the FLR as well as the proceedings of the Excise Commissioner cancelling the licences of such hotels are also set aside.” The Bench also dismissed a petition filed by the bar owners an hour after the judgment seeking permission to allow them to function for two weeks. The court observed that the apex court had already permitted the bar owners to function till the High Court passes an order so there is no need to further extend the order.

Since the fate of both two and three-star hotels has been concluded by the Supreme Court in the Surendra Das case, the challenge against the exclusion can no longer survive. However, in the case of hotels with four star and heritage classification, there was absolutely no material to justify a conclusion that there were any complaints with respect to their functioning. The state submitted that it was decided that no new licences for three-star hotels would be permitted from March 31, 2012 onwards. It was its avowed policy to reduce liquor consumption in the state stage by stage and to achieve the goal of total prohibition within a 10-year span, the state submitted. As many as 250 bars will be shut down today as per the order in this regard.

Faced with the prospect of the immediate shutdown of their bar operations, three-star hotels in the state are likely to apply for four-star or five-star licences to stay in business. Following the Kerala High Court verdict on Thursday, only four-star, five-star and heritage restaurants could continue with their bar operations in the state. “There are about 262 three-star restaurants. Most, if not all, would apply for a four-star licence as there are only small differences between the two categories,” said Biju Ramesh, working president of the Kerala Bar Hotel Association. According to industry officials, the room size, bath room size prescribed by the Hotel & Restaurant Approval and Classification Committee India for both three-star and four-star restaurants are the same. The only major difference is in the air-conditoning facilities offered. While the rules prescribe air-conditioning facilities for common areas and passage ways for four-stars, these are not required for three-star restaurants.

“Air-conditioning facilities for common areas are not a big problem. To save their investments, bar owners would apply for four-star category licences,” said Ramesh. Jose Dominic, CEO of CGH Earth Group, said the group’s two resorts – the Brunton Boatyard and Marari Beach – are currently in the three-star category though the facilities are of the five-star level. “We would go for a five-star licence due to the new liquor policy,” Dominic said. They need to begin the process from the scratch. There could be new educational institutions or religious establishments that have come up within the prescribed limit from the time they first got the licence. The three-star hotels may first apply for a beer-and-wine parlour licence, which is allowed now under the rules.

“Where Are My Grandbabies?”

I find it strange that a couple who raised their daughter under close watch & scrutinized her every move and never let her be friends with guys, let alone allow her to have a boyfriend, and ensuring that she went from home to school/college and straight back home and have almost a nil social life, is now upset that almost a year has passed since the daughter got married but she hasn’t become pregnant yet!

Maybe if you just let her have some practice she might know what to do

Some Indian parents treat their daughters mostly like “garba pathrams” (wombs) for their grand children to be conceived in! LIke her only purpose in life is to get married to the guy that they find for her, a perfect stranger, then get into bed with said perfect stranger and start making babies for her parents to play with.

“Hey, I just met you and call me crazy / but here’s my daughter / fuck her and start making babies” – ditty of those Indian parents!

Welcome, Stranger

Think about the town where you currently live: its local customs, traditions, and hangouts, its slang. What would be the strangest thing about this place for a first-time visitor?

For a first time visitor, and for the purpose of this post I shall assume that he/she is a foriegner, there will be quite a few things that will seem strange or odd about Cochin.

  • The humidity. Yeah people, on a hot & sweaty day (mid February till late April or even June) you’re not gonna like it. Plenty of water is advisable.
  • The internet loads monsoon. And when it rains, it pours. And we complain that it’s raining a lot during the monsoon, which cools things down quite a bit but we still complain. And when it’s not raining we complain that it’s too hot and we need some rain!
  • Harthals! Most people outside India and even outside the state are puzzled with the phenomenon of the harthals – which is a general strike (no shops, no public transport and no business are allowed to operate). These years it lasts for 12  hours when it used to be 24 hrs earlier. Usually started by an opposing political party as a protest against a new rule or change in rule or some controversy.
  • On really hot afternoons, most of the people drink boiling hot tea! At 3pm! Even I am stumped at this!
  • The traffic and the roads. And how much filth we dump onto the sides of the roads.

There’s quite a lot of things we do that will seem strange but these are the ones I could think up right payday loans on line now.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

Frogs In A Well

It’s 2014 – and yet there are people here who still judging others on different hair styles that they think look weird and ‘against the culture’ because they choose to not look like everybody else and actually have their own personality. I’m talking about afros and dreadlocks. Are these backward thinking idiots frogs in a well? It’s disheartening to know that our people haven’t grown up at all that they criticize and poke fun of someone who is remotely different.

My parents watch this Malayalam talk show that has, in the past, had some really good topics. However they also have episodes that drive me bat shit crazy. Like this one they were watching this morning – the host had several people brought in who have “alternative hairstyles”; alternative to the regular norm that is seen in Kerala & India. There were guys into rock/metal, reggae etc and they had long hair, afros and dreadlocks. The host was teasing and making fun of these hair styles and their outfits and comparing them to mythical creatures! Really? The audience was mostly filled with old, narrow minded people who looked upon these men and a couple of young boys, as if they feared that they would catch some disease from them.

And the old ladies would say stuff like “in my time we wouldn’t have allowed them to walk on the streets like this blah blah blah” and all. “This is not our culture and/or against our culture” Well I guess that’s what people said when they introduced shirts, trousers and proper hygienic toilets to us as well! They think they are still in the 16th century. Well throw away your tvs and computers, throw away your clothes and houses and go and live in huts with holes in the ground for toilets and wear single white sheets around your waists for clothes. Get sold to a guy your father chooses for you in exchange for 2 cows or goats, or get married at the age of 8 to your spouse who is 9! Whatever! Fuck off!