Author Archives: passionatepal

About passionatepal

Iam a Bsc Chemistry graduate and MBA working in a MNC Pharma company as Business Manager.........

All Alone Together at The Top!

Trekking always fascinated me and still it does!There are many out there who would spend money and time to go on a hike.A trek definitely reinvigorates you and supplements with that extra bit of energy one requires from time to time.My story is about such a trek we undertook many years ago when all of us were very young and all were overflowing with high enthusiasm and drive.

I live in southern Kerala and the imposing Western Ghats runs almost all through the State.The Agastya mountains invites all sorts of trekkers and we have heard about these mountains right from early childhood.The Agstyakoodam is the second highest peak south of the Himalayas and is around 20KMs from Neyyar Dam;via one of the trek routes.The highest peak south of the Himalayas is Anamudi located near Munnar.

The stories about the imposing Agastyakoodam were sort of folklore in those days.Many known to us have never visited the peak.But all knew that such a peak existed.We couldn’t find even one person who trekked the mountain.All that the advise we got was never even think of going there!

Trekking may be a fashionable word now-a-days but never so popular those days.Trekking involves risks and no ordinary parent would allow their wards to embark on such a journey.More over in those days certain disputes were going on in connection with the placing of an idol of Agstya muni on top of the peak

Advertisements

Trivandrum to Calicut Via Air……

The filght time from Trivandrum to Calicut in the big filght is about 40 minutes.Air India Express flies weekly once at a very affordable rate.I have become a very regular passenger in this flight now a days.

DSC_1237

Manjeri…..

 

 

So whats big about this particular route?If you are the type who just relaxes by closing your eyes for the entire duration of the flight,then this is a very usual and boring flight!

 

new stadia

New stadium coming up near Karyavattom,Trivandrum

 

 

 

But if you are awake and managed to get a window seat then the story starts!This flight covers more or less three quarters of the length of Kerala or may be more.If the sky is clear and clouds have given way to clearer views poetry is about to start.

 

As the flight takes off from the Trivandrum airport and if you are sitting on a right side window seat,the city comes into clear view.If you are watchful, can see the “Gopuram” of Padmanabha Swamy temple.The Kazhakuttam bye pass road will come into view very clearly with the vehicles moving in both directions.The railway line is also visible and if you are lucky enough can see trains chugging along,if at all there were one or two.

DSC_1229

Kadalundy River….Malappuram’s Own

If the sky is really clear one can see the Western Ghats at a distance.The Agstyakoodam Peak is conspicuous by its shape.Along with that the entire range of mountains looks stunningly amazing.

The Kochuveli railway station comes into view next along with the Veli bridge on the Kazhakuttam bye pass road.The new Infosys builldings(Constructed in the shape of a coconut frond and at the same time like a ship)can be seen clearly.A few car showrooms with many no.of cars parked cannot be missed by anybody.

Normally after this the plane takes a slight right turn and then straightens.Of course it climbs up high into the sky and everything underneath the plane becomes very miniscule.Noticeable after this part is normally the backwaters of Kottayam and Alleppey.The Cochin airport comes into view very clearly.

Then you are into poetic territory.The beginning of the Northern part of Kerala.

Bharathapuzha welcomes us with her meandering path clearly visible even from 8000 mts!The flight would have already started its decent towards Calicut Airport.

veli

Veli lake joins Arabian Sea

Pattambi and Thrithala comes into view with all the surrounding places.The bridge which connects Valanchery to Thrithala can be seen distinctly.

Kadalundipuzha offers another breathtaking view.It meanders like a big snake and the recent rains must have made the river flow with plenty of water.The Kadalundy river originates in the Silent Valley and flows for about 120kms and joins the Arabian sea near Calicut.

As the flight approached the runway at Calicut a few towns of Malappuram comes into view.Manjeri can be seen clearly.A new lush playing ground is visible as the flight takes a few turns before landing.

DSC_1226

Quite flows the Bharathapuzha

 

 

So enjoy your next flight from Trivandrum to Calicut or vice versa.

 

 

World War 3 is on….How to stop it?

Half-The-Sky-49276_630x210

Allow me to live……Pic from www.justiceforyouth.org

About 200 million disappear every year which is more than the deaths happened during the 2 World wars combined.The major difference is that during last world wars primarily it were men who lost their lives.But in this war it is the girls and only girls who are getting killed.What World war are we talking about?Yes it is the war against the girl child.A mind boggling number of girls are banished from this world before they are born or just after.Film maker Evan Grae Davis calls this the Gendercide.

201010IRD003

Boys for every 100 girls…Pic from www.media.economist.com

More number of girls are exterminated in India and China than the number of girls born in the USA.

girl_twins_india_gendercide_rtr268zn_ah_54968

Whats the road ahead for them?..Pic from www.assets.knowledge.allianz.com

India and China leads the table in erasing the fairer sex.We all know that this was happening for quite some time.Despite the understanding, it was shocking to grasp a woman’s revelation about killing 8 girl babies born to her.She buried them in the nearby farm side by side.

In China pregnant women electrocute themselves and abort their pregnancies when they come to know that they are bearing a girl child.Horrifying to know this bit of information.

Another terrifying information comes from Cambodia where girl babies are smashed against what are called killing trees and thrown into a pit one by one.Are we living in the 21st Century?

552770_382251225142973_1062883746_n

As innocent as they can be…Pic from www.sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

But why this lady who strangled her new born baby girls would resort to such inhuman act?For this she has an answer which connects to  her own early  life.She was quite good at school and by the time she was about 15 her parents married her to her sister’s husband.Her sister couldn’t bear any child so she was married off just to have children; that too boys.

Evan opines that the 3 deadliest words in the world are  “It’s a Girl”.

There is a genocide occurring in the world today.This genocide is not based on race or religion but on gender.The female gender is not welcome for some people around the world.Millions of girls are “Gendercided” every year around the world and nothing much is done to prevent it.

midwives-1024x563-305x305

Don’t snatch them away…..Pic from www.theyremember.org

Evan Grae Davis has spent time around the world including India as part of his filming assignments.He has spent days in the Aral sea which is a desert now and understood the sufferings of people living there.They had fished in the Aral sea for generations but their plight is horrifying now.

But nothing prepared Davis for the day when he stood beside the grave of the 8 girls terminated by their mother.The woman didn’t want a daughter; she wanted a son.The lady never showed any remorse for the mischievous act done by her but felt happy that they didn’t have to live in poverty and face the challenges encountered by women in India.

gendercide

Need more strong and hard actions…Pic from www.wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com

Davis fathomed that she is a product of the environment and culture.A culture where a baby boy is cherished than a girl.

In India 5 million baby girls are aborted annually.Mortality rate for girls are 75% higher than that for boys.Thousands of dowry deaths are reported every year.

In China along with the “son” preference, the one child policy has resulted in 37 million more men than women!One million more boys are born every year.

The impact of this enormous gender imbalance has caused tremendous sex trafficking issues for China.Apart from this over 70 thousand girls are kidnapped from their homes to be sold as brides.Families would have no other ways of finding brides for their sons.

PoO

They are beautiful…Pic from www. causes-prod.caudn.com/photos

The one child policy is enforced severely by the Government in China.Women are forcefully dragged out of their houses and their fetuses  aborted if they havn’t registered their yet to be born child.

So how can one respond to end such inhuman act?

The “Save the girl child” campaign seems to have done nothing much in controlling  this female genocide.We have to make a long and hard look at what we are doing and should “Turn the mirror around”.We have allowed things to go horribly wrong and its time put things in order.

Restoring the value and dignity of the girl child would call for taking responsibility from every member of the society.They involve little girls,boys men,women,Govenrment officials and the medical profession alike.

Strong laws should protect the girls form such extermination.Is their anything we can do to hear the voices of Chinese women who are not listened to in their country?

DMC

Disturbing stats…Pic from Shadowline films’ facebook page

How can we stop this Gendercide?

We can involve ourselves in changing the culture of devaluation of women in our society and help eradicate this apathy towards them.

One action we can do is to popularize the documentary created by Evan Grae Davis; “It’s a Girl” .This would help in creating more awareness and bring the issue of female genocide into the forefront.

One day “Gendercide” should become a distant memory of the past…….

Please click on the link to watch the youtube video of Evan Grae Davis’ Lecture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=42i1sIZ-9kQ

Franklin Templeton  Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012

Click on the following link to watch a trailer of the documentary “Its a Girl” by Evan Grae Davis

http://www.itsagirlmovie.com/

All Whites “Caterpillar”….Amazing Guest

This post is a part of <a title="WOW" href="http://blog.blogadda.com/2012/09/28/write-over-the-weekend-wow-indian-blogs">Write Over the Weekend</a>, an initiative for <a title="Indian Bloggers" href="http://www.blogadda.com">Indian Bloggers</a> by BlogAdda

It was a Wednesday morning and a slight drizzle was on.The climate was cool because of the previous night’s rain and the sun was playing truant.Unusual weather conditions;one might think.It was unusual, for the rains have been scarce throughout the year and scorching heat was bearing down on planet earth;at least in our part of the world.

All Whites Caterpillar……Is it Unusual?

Kerala is blessed with coconut trees aplenty(not something I have discovered just now!).I have my neighbour Aunty’s coconut tree leaves slanting over to my house.In Kerala this is just very usual and nobody complaints about the ubiquitous tree’s unwanted slantings.

                        

I do get quite a no.of avian friends visiting my house very often.Be it the Sunbird,Asian Koel,Coucal or the very rare Black Kite.It is often my wife who discovers them first and shouts at me about her findings.I immediately rush out with my digital Canon SLR with a relatively good zoom lens to capture the guest’s portraits.

Thread like outfit…….Interesting

As usual this particular Wednesday morning she shouted!”Come fast and have a look;there is an unsual looking worm on the coconut tree leaf”.

I went out in right earnest and found a peculiar looking “caterpillar”.It was all white in color(means no colour!)and about 10cms in length.It was munching on a leaf and it seemed unperrturbed by our close presense.The photographer inside me started his action and I came back with the camera in hand.I could able to click a few shots.It was drizzling slightly so I had to cover the camera with a towel.

Since I was all that not happy with the angles I was getting my wife tried to tilt the leaf.But suddently the white fella rolled into a sort of ball like shape.It had very interesting “fur” which looked like white threads.It seemed more like a torn cloth with a few yarns dangling here and there.

We considered it to be a special type of caterpillar though not sure.I asked a few experts and they are also not aware of this “whitey” as of now.

After having spend some time with the unusual guest we went inside to finsh breakfast.I came back to have one more look at the “caterpillar” and there;it was gone.

Same guy…..Different shape

 

 

We consider this experience of ours with an unusual and probabily unwanted guest(may be it is harmful for the coconut tree)a very nice rare incident.Iam not sure whether I would see it again……..

 

 

 

This post is a part of <a title="WOW" href="http://blog.blogadda.com/2012/09/28/write-over-the-weekend-wow-indian-blogs">Write Over the Weekend</a>, an initiative for <a title="Indian Bloggers" href="http://www.blogadda.com">Indian Bloggers</a> by BlogAdda

Malaysia Marvels

At last we were on a flight to Malaysia.There has been some heated exchnages and fiery discussions about the trip,but finally it took off in late September 2012.Our flight from Chennai was at 10pm,an Airasia flight,but we  reached Chennai around 10am.Settled on a hotel at Pallavaram,near the Chennai airport,and tried to imagine what was in store for the next 3 days.

A New Dawn in Malasia.Kuala Lumpur as seen from the hotel

For many it was a first trip abroad and first time on a flight.For those who are a first on a flight wouldn’t be disappointed,as there was much in strore for them,eventhough it was not planned that way!

Kuala Lumpur’s Monorail….Cheap and Fast

So we were all ready for the show and reached the Chennai airport very much on time and collected the passport and tickets which was kept by the tour operator.The immigration formaities took about an hour to be completed and we sat at the waiting lounge.The cameras were already clicikng and most of us wanted to record everythng.

Petronas Towers….Most Popular

Since we were a large group,getting tickets direct to Kuala Lumput was an issue and as a result our group,a strong “Men only”  pack of 44,weere going to Bangkok first.The Airasia flight to Bangkok took off just a bit late and we were in the air soon.Chennai at night looked beautiful and since it was a first for many there was a little bit of noise.Some where even whistling when the flight took off!

But all settled dwon soon and it was time to have some dinner.Some of us had a ghee roast just before boarding the flight and that was a good decision which we would find out soon!

There was not much on the menu offered by Airasia,to our liking that is,and we had a tough time what to choose.Vegetarian stuff was really less in number and I settled for a veg cup-o-noodles.It was horrible and after somehow finishing it, leaned on the window and closed my eyes.

We reached Bangkok,Suvarnabhumi airport around 3am(local time) and proceeded to ‘Visa on Arrival” section.After finalising the formalities boarded the Kuala Lumpur flight and it took off at 715am.The Suvarnabhumi airport at Bangkok is a huge one and it was most modern.All of us clicked quite a no.of pics and enjoyed our few hours at the airport.

Tallest Statue of Murugann…Batu Caves

The flight to Kuala Lumpur from Bangkok took 2 hours and we arrived finally at the LCCT airport.(Low cost carrrier terminal).The airpost is less shiny as compared to the more famous KLIA(Kuala Lumpur International Airport).We immediately boarded a bus arranged for us and reached our hotel right in the middle of Kuala Lumpur.But before that we had our lunch at a North indian special restaurant.The food was “ok” to my liking.

We checked into the hotel and I got a room overlooking the Petronas towers.There is no doubt the twin towers of Petronas is the most popular structure in the whole of Malaysia and here is my oppoutunity to wake up looking at the towers for 2 days!

After having rest for 2 hours, we started a short city tour of Kuala Lumpur.The King’s palace was the first stop over.We spend a few minutes in front of the palace and proceeded to the next location.The “Independence square” was the next site and the beatutiful green ground was wonderful.The colonial secretariate building was on the other side of the ground.

Genting Sky way….Cable cars

Then we proceeded to a photo session of Petronas towers.The tallest twin tower in the world today.The towers were built by two separate companies and the entire construction was completed in about 4 years.Most of the offices are located in Petronas and tourist entry is restricted.

The Petronas looked beautiful and everybody took pictures to their heart’s content.Then we went to a chocolate store and purchased a few boxes.

At around 8pm we assembled for the gala dinner.It was a noisy affair with dancing and singing.The partying went up to 12 midnight.But  more excitementt was in store the next day.

We retired to our rooms and the view again from my room was breathtaking.The Petronas looked awesome at night.Since it was past midnight all the lights were not shining on the Petronas.

Inside Genting

We were infomed to have breakfast by 730am and proceeded to Genting highlands in right earnest.Genting hiighlands boasts of certain world standard attractions.It is nestled in the Titiwangsa Mountains with the highest elevation of about 2000m.

Getting to Genting is the most exciting of activities.We have to board a cable car to reach Genting(possible by road as well).The cable car system is known as Genting Skyway which is 3.8kms one way.About 8 people can sit in a car.It was an unforgetttable 20 minutes in the cable car and the forests down below looked beautiful.It looked similar to the Indian jungles.

Petronas by Night….

Genting has one of the largest hotels in the world with more than 6000 rooms!According to our guide all the rooms were occupied on all 365 days in 2011!There are several other hotels and all are owned by the same group.

There is a casino in Genting and some of us lost a few Ringgits(the currency of Malaysia. 1 Ringgit=Rs.17.8).Genting’s main attraction is the theme park with indoor and outdoor sections.We were on the outdoor sectiion and there were several exciting rides.The “Go-Kart” turned out to be very popular and as a result a long wait to get into the cockpit of one!

After the rides it was time to have lunch and we got out of Genting and reached Batu Caves.It is one of Kuala Lumpur’s  most touristed attractions and some Soth-Indian restaurants serve good food.Batu Caves are supposed to be millions of years old and is made up of lime stone.There are 3 caves and a Murugan temple located on top.During Thaipusam many thousands of Indians and others throng the temple.The large statue of Murugan is the tallest in the world.

The Sepang F1 circuit.Outside view

The bus also stopped at the Swiss Watch shop near the temple and few made some purchases.We had hot ghee rost at a restaurant near the Batu Caves.The coffee was good,tasting as good as it would taste in Tamil Nadu.

Yaksha Demon at Suvarnabhumi Airport,Bangkok

Then we stopped one more time to take some night time pictures of Petronas.The twin towers looked just as breathtaking as it looked during day time.Shopping time was next and few of us bought LCD/LED Tvs which were much cheaper than in India.A 32 inch lcd costs Rs.15000/- only.

Then we settled into our rooms and there was no official party for the night.It was time to organise a party on our own with a few of us, and it went on till 1am.Next day it was tim to leave Kuala Lumpur and catch the return flight.But little did we realise at that time that much more excitement was in store!

Our plan was to proceed to KLCC airport after having lunch at Putra Jaya.Our return flight also was via Bangkok.The flight to Bangkok took off at 4pm and we reached Bangkok on time.The “Visa on arrival was next and we faced one of the toughest few hours for getting that.

The Sepang F1 circuit.Outside view

Our tour operator thought the Visa on Arrival was needed only once(we took it while coming).This he said was the information he got from Airasia.Also from 1 Oct 2012 all the low cost carriers should operate from the new airport(It was in reality the unused old airport).Now we wanted to take the Visa on Arrival but to our surprise the guide was not having the 1000 Baht(Thailand Currency)each for the 44 members.Nobody is allowed to go out without completing the immigration formalities.Our flight was at 715 pm and it was getting close for departure and the visa formalities were not getting over.

Imposing Genting

We knew that the flight would take off without 44 passengers.The guide needed to get the Bahts required from outside from his collegue.No water was available at the visa section and everybody was getting tired.The situation was beginning to fall apart and more members started to vent their feelings.The mobiles were not working(Nobodywas having temporary Thailand SIM) and the only mobile of the guide was not having enough balance for all of us to talk.We wanted to inform home that we wouldn’t arrive on time.

After about 6 hours of waiting at the visa section the issue was resolved.The guide’s colleague never arrived on time and the authoirities allowed one of us to go out and use the credit card and get the required Bahts.

Now the next challenge was to get tickets on another flight and finally we were reserved on a New Delhi flight.The flight wa at 815am just about 5 hours from the time we left the visa section.We went to a hotel to have some rest(about 2 hours! that is).Nobody was able to have dinner and by the time we got out, the restaurants of Bangkok were closed.We had to rely on some cream biscuits and soft drinks for dinner,if one can call it like that.The time was 3am!

Sunderbans…As seen from the Bangkok-New Delhi flight

We were informed to have an early breakfast at 5am!After that we proceeded to the Suvarnabhumi airport.The flight to New Delhi took about 4 hours and we were booked to our respective destinations from there.Despite the unexpected difficulties faced all of us enjoyed the “Extra” stopover at Bangkok and New Delhi!

The entire Malaysia trip was a Roller-Coaster” ride

 

 

The trip to Kuala Lumpur was a “Roller Coaster” ride indeed.Nobody is going to forget this trip for a long time,for good reasons as well as for some not so good!

And now “Gutter Oil” in Antibiotics

There are about 7 billion human beings living on planet Earth and counting.There is a crunch on resources and many live below poverty line.Recycling is encouraged  and the human race as a whole is benefitted because of this recycling process.

But what about recycled cooking oil?!That too recycled from restaurant waste collected from drainage?!

We are familiar with the following types of oil;

Coconut oil,Groundnut oil,Sesame oil,Corn oil,Cottonseed oil,Olive oil or even Soybean oil;

But how does the following list sounds like;

Sewage oil,Drainage oil,Swill oil,Slope oil or Gutter oil…….

If you are still wondering is there an oil called “Gutter Oil”,stop thinking.Because there is and it is used widely in China.The other nomenclatures mentioned above refers to the same type of oil.

Indians are very familiar with “Gutters” and are omnipresent in all parts of our country.We have Gutters full of muddy water and may be traces of engine oil leaked from passing vehicles.But China is famous for “Gutter Oil”!

The Gutter oil is recycled oil from waste discarded by hotels and restaurants in China.There are experienced people who collect this waste and recycle the left over oil and sell it at a fraction of the genuine cooking oil.Even animal waste is used to get the oil contained in it.They use various techniques and filtration is the common one.There are people who even sell this waste and there are people who buy them.The waste is then transported in bicycles to the “Waste oil recycling plants” and get paid for that.

This Gutter oil is used in many “low cost” restaurants in some parts of China.The perpetrators who recycle and sell this oil even claim that they are good for human use!

The Chinese Goverrnment is doing what they can to bring these people to book.Arrests have been made over the years and the public has been warned not to consume this type of oil even if it is cheap.It is believed that the first recycling of the Gutter oil started in 2000.

What has caused “adding fuel to the fire”(or shall we say adding “gutteroil” to the fire!)is the recent report that the famed(at least in China)Gutter oil is used to make antibiotics by pharma companies.

Cefalosporins are a type of anitibiotic used widely to treat various types of infections all over the world by doctors.Normally Soyoil is used in the manufacture of such pills.Now they have found out that Gutter oil is used by some firms to make Cefalosporins.But it is not proved that  by gulping a few pills of these antibiotics causes harm to the human body.

It may not have caused(or reported;nobody can be sure)any harm but one shudders to consume a tablet made out of Gutter oil.Some firms, it seems would do anything to add to their profits.

More thann 100 tons of Gutter oil have been seized from many provinces across China.The price of one ton of Gutter oil is about 900 dollars and for a more “Purified” Gutter oil one has to pay 1500 dollars!One out of ten lower market restaraunts use Gutter oil in China.Wuhan, in the heart of China is the place where most of this recycling takes place.

One hopes the authorities would get the people involved in such recycling and prevent it from human use.

Please click on the links to read more about Gutter oil

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-19462349

http://www.chinasmack.com/2009/pictures/recycled-slop-swill-cooking-oil.html