Too many walls, not enough bridges

I have been a feminist for a long time, for so long that I don’t even remember the last time I thought about the issue of equality between men and women from another angle. Lately, I have been witness to and part of certain situations and circumstances which have got me thinking about the most debated topic since the creation of Earth- men and women. This time around, I have something to tell the womenfolk out there. Yes, the things I say need not hold true for all of the women, but yeah I am speaking to the majority of the women that I interact with on a day-to-day basis. No, I am not talking about open-minded women in Bombay, Dubai or Kochi, but of the many closed minded women who still exist in all these places.

Oh, Woman, I feel you have grown very comfortable with the boundaries that you have set for yourself. In this hue and cry against inequality and the anxiousness of being treated differently, if you ask me, you have found a comfort zone. A comfort zone which may turn out to be fatal for the whole of womankind. A comfort zone in which you find it easier to fend off a guy from having a real conversation with you than actually opening up and talking to him about you. Like all women are not the same, you must also know that all men are not the same. You must know that I wouldn’t mind knowing about the shit that you go through every single day. Only then will I learn to respect you and see you for the enduring spirit that you are. Somewhere behind that wall you built around you, you forgot to keep any bridges for me to understand you. I want you to tell me about your pains, your fantasies and your aspirations. Tell me about your worries and problems. Your mood is bad because you have your periods? Tell me and I shall try to understand. Every other dark alley reminds you of the auto driver who flashed at you, tell me and I shall try to understand. You feel frustrated when your brother goes out with your friends late at night, but you are not allowed to, tell me and I shall try to understand. You find it difficult to hold your bladder all the time, tell me and I shall try to understand. You would rather choose not to have breasts than walk around with the bra on you all the time, tell me and I shall try to understand. If you are uncomfortable when someone takes a picture of you because you had an asshole of a boyfriend, tell me and I shall try to understand. For it is only when you tell me that I can think about what you have been through. For you and I are different, for I don’t read faces nor think too much. Then how do you expect me to know your pain if you don’t share it with me? Or have you lost so much of hope in me, that you choose not to? For let me assure you one thing, there are more men like me who are willing to try to understand, but fewer women like you who would give us a chance. Because I don’t know what I would have done without you. I love you.

10 hacks for first time backpackers in India

So finally you have decided to let it all go and backpack your way through India. It is an absolutely amazing feeling and a challenge on its own, and I am glad that you have decided to take it up. I am a traveller, and I believe that every travel is an experience on its own, but some experiences are really not worth it-especially the bad ones. Putting here in this piece, some of the things I wish I knew before I decided to backpack that will help you avoid the bad experiences and indulge in the good.

  1. Be your own tour planner

It might be a real pain, but there is nothing like planning your own tour. If you leave it to a travel planner or a friend, they might end up planning something that they would like to see, which you may end up finding absolutely boring. You know yourself best, so sit down and do your own research. The internet will contain lists of lot of places, pick and choose the places that interests you as a person. Look for reviews on multiple sites about the places and also do a small background research on the timings of the places and any other things to avoid or have on you while visiting these places. You sure can’t cover all the places in one go, so prioritise and keep them ready in case of time/money constraints.

  1. Make a budget and keep your accounts clean

Before starting your journey which will see the use of much of your hard saved money, make a budget of your proposed expenses. Make sure you include food, accommodation, travel and miscellaneous expenses. Even if not very accurate, make a vague one. This will help you plan your expenses much more effectively. Once this is done and you start you journey, a habit of keeping track of all the expenses should start. However small or big it is, try to note it down and do a consolidation at the end of the day. Many a times you might be spending way more than you are supposed to, or you might be being too stingy. This will help you ensure that you won’t have to leave your trip halfway.1ec6c5b2218db0b2b4a609e8c3b5aea9

  1. Be a pro at the art of packing and unpacking

Yes it is true that with practice comes perfect, but still be prepared to pack and unpack a record number of times. The less time you spend packing and unpacking, the more time you will have for seeing new places and meeting new people. Check out this link which I found handy: http://www.golivexplore.com/packing-tips-for-backpackers/

Hacker Packing

Pack. Unpack. Pack. Repeat.

  1. Carry the Holy Bible of travel with you51H3qffIGWL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

Yes you heard it right, the holy Bible of travel. I am sure you have often seen  foreigners walking around with books in their hands figuring out directions and places, this book in their hands my friends is the Holy Bible of travel and it is called The Lonely Planet. This book will tell you everything you need to know about where to eat, drink and sleep, what to see and when to see in the place that you are travelling to in India. Though it is a little bit expensive to buy the paperback, there is also an e-book you can get online. Trust me, this will take you from a normal traveller to a travel agent in one go.

  1. Never reveal all your plans to anyone

Once you start travelling, you will constantly keep meeting a lot of people. There will be hot girls on the way, uncles, aunties and families. You might end up having a deep conversation with some too. But never, ever reveal your travel plan to them. Trust me you might be tempted, but DO NOT reveal your whole plan to them. It is better to be safe than sorry. Enough said.

  1. Make a travel memoir

When you travel, make sure that you make a memoir of your experiences. Now this my friends will be a really daunting task. When you travel, lots of things will happen, and you might not be able to remember or recollect all the funny/interesting incidents from the back of your head once the travel is over. And also if two years down the line you want to revisit your travels, you will only have photos to do that and photos don’t speak. That makes writing absolutely necessary. You might have to write on the train, in late hours of the night, after you are very tired, while you are drunk but nevertheless WRITE. Trust me, you will thank me later.shutterstock_91028072-e1421171426119

  1. Make peace with your body02-body

Now for most of us who haven’t been taking good care of our body, suddenly putting our body through a lot of stress will take its toll. So please make sure you listen to your body and give it ample amount of rest. Don’t make it ask you for rest by making you sick, but treat it well so that it gets the rest it deserves. Even if that means skipping a few places, sleeping for some more time and eating 3 meals a day, when you only have money for 2. You mess with your body, it will mess with your trip.

  1. Ask and you shall receive

Now that you are travelling to new places, and there are people all over trying to fool you, do your best not to get fooled. And rule number 1 for that is Ask. Ask what the rate of the service/product you intend to buy is? Ask everything related to it and how it will be lest you want to get fooled. From mineral water to hotel rooms ask the rates and terms of use. Ask and you shall receive, don’t ask and you shall be royally screwed.

  1. Have a trusted friend back home

Once you start travelling you will understand that technology still has a lot of limitations. There will be times or a lot of times when your internet won’t be working or your transactions won’t be going through. For all those times, have a really good friend back home entrusted with the job of taking care of your logistics and other issues. Credit his/her bank account with some money and please him/her enough to be on your beck and call, for trust me you will need that person. And don’t forget to get presents for your friend while on your trip for he/she shall be our true saviour!

  1. Look for signs, they will help you

Now this might seem a little spiritual and all, bit it is true as far as I have experienced. And since you are taking tips from me, you might as well take this. Keep your mind open for signs, by signs I mean incidents, people or experiences that will guide you when you are confused or are looking for answers. Do not consider everything as a sign and start searching for it, go on your normal paths and if need be, these signs will guide you home.

Polaris- The North Star- Alpha Ursa Minor

So there you go, hope this does some good to you. Wish you Godspeed. Always remember-

“Travelling-it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story-teller”

Idu Kochi aanu Bro ! !(The Kochikaran’s List of top 10 things to do in Kochi)

Kochi a.k.a Cochin, the city I grew up to be me- The Kochikaran. The city of Kochi is the place which has given me everything. It gave me a home, school, friends and football. It was the place I went around and still go around in cycles,scooters, bikes and cars. I travelled alone first in Kochi, I went for my first date in Kochi, went to my first DJ in Kochi and also met with my first accident in Kochi. So as you can see I am very much attached to my city, and it has never failed to fascinate me.

It would be right to say that Kochi is not a city, it is a feeling. A feeling of peace. Kochi doesn’t have the pubs Bangalore has, doesn’t have the crowd that Chennai has, the love birds that Mumbai marine drive has nor does it have a Qutub Minar or a Lotus temple. But what Kochi has is peace for whoever comes to it. The peace that you get while standing on top of the lighthouse in Puthuvypeen, the peace that you get while crossing the bridge to Willington island, the peace that the walkways of Marine drive gives you, the peaceful noise that the crowds in Broadway gives you, the peace you get passing through panampilly avenue during any time of the day. Kochi is a laid back city, how much ever you try to bring activity and buzz into it, it still goes back to tranquillity. So what makes Kochi unique? Try these 10 must do things I list here and know for yourself.

1.Visit the lighthouse in puthuvypeen beach

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Enjoying the view from Puthuvypeen Light house

Set amidst the serene Puthuvypeen beach, the lighthouse is one of its kind in Kochi.Please make sure you take the stairs and not the lift. The best time to visit the lighthouse would be from 3-5 pm. Go sit on top and enjoy the breeze to your heads and don’t miss the honeycombs hanging from the sides.

2.Take a boat to Willington Island

Go to the boat jetty near Subash park and take a boat to willington island. The boat ride is a beauty in itself, add to it the nice little stroll you can take in the Willington island and you have bliss.

3.Visit Fort Kochi and Mattancherry

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Beer at Seagull Fort Kochi

This is a cliched item, and no trip to Kochi is complete without this trip.
My favourite places would be the Jew synagogue, St Francis church, Koonan Kurush Church and Hotel Seagull.

4.Visit Kadamkudi

Set a little far from the city, Kadamakudi is the one place you don’t want to miss in Kochi. Take a ride up to this place and unwind and catch up on old times.

5.Go fooding at Panampilly Nagar

Panampilly Nagar is one place you don’t want to miss while you are in Kochi. Take your time to try out the food joints in panampilly nagar, you might also run into some film stars or fancy cars while you are at it.

6.Go plane spotting in Athani

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Plane spotting at Athani

Go to athani and find yourself in the road between the railway track and airport runway. Stand there and spot aeroplanes as they take off and land in the runway. Also use this time to say bye to the trains.

7.Go to Veegaland a.k.a Wonderla

Yes of course you have heard about the Wonderla in Bangalore, but this is where it all started from. I am sure every soul in Kochi would have gone to Veegaland at least twice, it still is one of the best things to do in Kochi.

8.Go explore Broadway

Broadway is one of the oldest places to shop in Kochi. Set parallel to the ever so famous M G Road, broadway is where Kochi goes for anything and everything. Explore the ever winding by lanes, you might be surprised by what you find.

9.Go to Subhash Park
The best place in Kochi during its golden years, Subhash Park has recently gone through a facelift and will be a fun place to hang out with your friends, family or even your lover.

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The lights at Subhash Park

With rides on one side to keep the kids engaged and trees on the other for the lovers. Many of the kids of Kochi where born due to the love shared in this park, and guess what the love is back.

10.Take a ride in a private bus

Yes you heard me right, of all the things that has been legendary about this city, the feeling of feeling like a boss while travelling in one of our private buses a.k.a Red killers is one worth not missing while at Kochi.

Bonus tip 11: Go to Illithodu deer park

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River crossing at Illithodu

Take a trip to Malayatoor to reach the Illithodu deer park. Yes a deer park in Kochi.Make sure you enter from Malayatoor side, taking a boat ride across the river to a park filled with sambar and spotted deer.

So this is my list of the top 10 things to do in Kochi. Yes i might have missed out on some, not to mention a family trip to LULU mall, but I leave it to you to explore more and feel the city with your hearts.

Your buddy freakan,

The Kochikaran.

 

 

 

 

Minute=The new hour

People who read the title might be a little confused by what I mean by it. Now this whole idea that I am going to talk about is a rip off from what my Sir at LIBA told during a law class that I attended. Nevertheless we are all messengers, so my mission here is to pass on the idea and nothing more. I take no credits for this. So here it goes.

We do a lot of things in a day and most of the things we do are measured in an hour’s time.One hour is the time I sleep during the afternoon, a mother gives her child 1 hour to play, we write exams for 2 hours, we wait for a friend for an hour, if Dominos doesn’t deliver in half an hour, consider it free. The time allotted by me for writing this blog is 1 hour. Like this there are many 1 hours(60 minutes) doing the rounds in everyone’s lives. Now the question my law sir asked was simple? Why an hour? Why not 30 minutes? Why not 45 minutes? And the whole class was left with no answer. Our ancestors used to follow and plan things in an hour, the guy who made the first clock probably randomly put in 24 hours in a day and maybe all the clock makers followed suit and no one gave a thought. We can’t blame our ancestors, because they were doing it right. They had no e-mail, no supersonic jets, no whatsapp, no internet, no logistics and supply chain, no facebook, no skype, no bullet trains, no laptops and computers. For them there was only 24 hours a day where most of the things they did had to be planned by the hour. But we live in an entirely different world, we think by the minute, tweet by the minute, whatsapp by the minute, and check mails by the minute and still when it comes to time, we go by the hour.

So the hack is, redefine the hour, instead of 24 put 28 hours in a day, make that 60 minute nap to a 45 minute nap, that 60 minute exam to 45 minutes, that 60 minute group discussion can very well be done in 45 minutes. When we live by the minute, why not time by the minute?

I wrote this blog in 20 minutes.

The Second Chance

For me, Chennai or Madras is and always will be a raw city. Chennai is a city which thrives on activity. The beaches, the sound of horns, the temples, the churches, the colleges,the suburban trains,the chaos, the rash driving, the funeral ceremony, the rickshaw drivers, the dosa shops, the TASMACs and the pubs are all integral parts of this traditional-modern city called Chennai. I have heard people who haven’t even been to Chennai telling that Chennai is too hot for them to handle and they cant bear the heat and all. Yes Chennai is HOT. During May you have to rely on the sweat on your bed to cool you to sleep, it is that hot. But once you survive the worst, it is a very warm and welcoming city. Chennai helps you rediscover yourself, it gives you a choice to be what you want to be. It can get you across places for Rs.5 and also for Rs.500. You can choose to stand and gulp alcohol in a TASMAC or head to a nearby pub. You can go to ESCAPE and watch a movie or always head to Devi theater as well. One day you can decide to live the rich life and eat from a fancy restaurant, the next day you can still have a sumptuous breakfast for only Rs.20 in your hand.All that and a lot more, I can go on and on about how enticing Chennai is.

 But given all this, there is something that I absolutely dislike about Chennai. The way Chennai and the people of Chennai handle their wastes. No one gives a fuck about the environment, Plastic covers are given out like paper in shops, for everything there is a plastic cover used. You can piss anywhere, dump waste anywhere, litter anywhere and spit anywhere. Chennai is a fucking dirt hole when it comes to all this. The city and the people are so busy growing and surviving and making ends meet that they have successfully failed to neglect the environment. Given all the good things about Chennai, when it comes to disposing waste and growing sustainably, Chennai doesn’t care, or Chennai din’t care till now.

When all goes mans way, nature has its own way of getting back to man. Come the Chennai floods. Yes the city has fought back, it has seen the death of many and misery of many others but Chennai will be back. Chennai has seen the rise of many hero volunteers and use of technology and communication to aid relief work. It has stood together as one and will bounce back to what it was in a weeks time. But according to me the best thing about the Chennai floods was the Chennai floods itself. Nature has given Chennai a second chance. The material damages can all be restored very soon, but along with that the floods have washed away a lot of dirt from Chennai. In a way it has cleansed Chennai of all the waste it has been accumulating over time which would have caused a lot of trouble to the people and the environment. It has given Chennai a reality check and with it a free cleansing driving.

Now things are in the hands of Chennai. Now things are in the hands of people like you and me and many others who call Chennai their favourite city. This is our chance to take the cue and work towards a cleaner and better Chennai. It is now or never, Sieze the day dear Madrasis, because you and I know very well now what the floods can do, and also that there is a no next time. Let us give back to Chennai all that it gave us.

Nandri.