Thursday, May 07, 2009

Questions to Ponder...

There are somethings that I wonder often, questions which should need not even be asked because the answers are so obvious, but still present themselves to us daily in newspapers, news reports or even in what we say in the course of our lives.

- Why do commuters carry helmets but not wear them?

- Why do pedestrians walk on crowded roads even when footpaths are available?

- Why are people ready to queue up patiently for hours at places of worship but refuse to queue up to board a  bus?

- Why do we sing praises of Singapore but spit and litter our own roads?

- Why are auto drivers in Cochin and Kottayam allowed to openly flout the law by not running by the meter?

- Why do we think our political responsibility in a democratic society is confined to getting an inkspot on our finger once in five years?

- Why do we blame politicians for not being pro-development when we are even less so?

- Why are the political parties more interested in the war in Palestine, of which they know very little about, than the development of our own city during an MP election?

- Why is the Siva Sena which was formed to target communities including Keralites in Mumbai trying to import the Ganesh Mahotsav to Trivandrum?

- Why do politicians nit-pick someone respecting the national anthem in his own way when most of them can't even sing it themselves?

Call this a scream of frustration, but why the heck don't we ever learn from all that we done wrong??!!! 


  1. I have pondered over some.

    - Commuters feel they need to wear helmets only when it is required. They will wear it when an accident happens. I know I am being flippant. I agree this is the dumbest thing in the world to carry a helmet around. It is like going around naked, while holding your clothes in a hanger.

    - Footpathophobia. This is something I thought of in Bangalore. I caught myself getting into the dangerous roads. Footpaths in most places are uninviting, compared to the road. The Blr footpaths are all dug up, slabs strewn across etc. The minute they changed to nice interlocking ones, the footpaths became popular again.

    - "Gott im Himmel" smotes his mighty lighting on queue-jumpers at places of worship. Bus Conductors carry only a ticket rack and really dont care.

    - Singapore is a "reverse-toilet". You go there to relieve your feeling of filth. And come back to living in filth. But Singapore has a subaltern culture, which most Indian tourists dont come across. They love to spit and spite the govt and are in general as insolent as some Indians.

    - "Cochin and Kottayam people are more industrious and they like to hustle" is a self-congratulatory explanation I heard. Let them be.

    - You are talking about less than 45% of the people who actually cared to vote. the remaining 55% needs to be in the paradises called China or Gelf to know even that .

    - Keralites love rebelling without a reason. And they dont care if they screw themselves. Karl Marx is wrong: Communism is the opium of the masses. It promises everything from job security to controlled obsolescence of productivity. Why should politicians change?

    - Indian muslims are second guessed by every politician of every hue in India. They give two hoots for Palestine, but they are told by some leaders that it is a vital issue and feed off the ensuing insecurity. Arafat always sided with Pakistan on Kashmir issue (unlike the west-condemned "evil" Saddam) and he has no interest in whether Indian muslims exists or not. The less said about Hamas and Hizbollah the better.

    - I thought Siva Sena in Kerala is as significant as dieting for Mohanlal? A bit of twisted joke.

    - National Anthem, flag etc are powerful only for those who care. Those who dont care, they just roll them both and beat their opponents with.

    Now for the crucial question - Will Tharoor win? Or will we be stuck with a loser who got elected by other losers who "were strangely attracted by the stink of worned out and decayed ideas"?

  2. Ajay - it is so nice to hear that a Keralite/Malayali (or whatever you like to call yourself) has some of the same thoughts that us foreigners have. As I am incredibly cheap, unable to read Malayalam and since there is no guide to which bus routes go where available in Trivandrum (hint hint - that would be a great project for some industrious folks) I walk a lot in your fair city and ponder many of your points continually. I have even found myself saying to people (who probably think I am nuts) that their helmet is no good on their handlebars or (even more irritating to me) on their head but not secured beneath their chin!

    I usually try to walk on the sidewalk - and there are some lovely stretches (a favourite destination is Cafe Coffee Day and from there back to Vellayambalam is delightful) and backroads. I do agree though that the "sidewalks" that consist of slabs of stone over ditches are a bit scary, especially since I weigh (much) more than your average Indian and am always worried that I may crash right through a weak piece or it may tilt up like a seesaw and spill me in to the road.

    Spitting and littering - oh don't get me started! And the crush to get on the bus - it's not as bad here as in other parts of India (in my experience) but I do think it is very sad how most of the time there is room for everyone and people just look rather silly in their stampede to the door.

    Anyway - enough complaining. How about a list of questions to ponder that are positive about the city? Like your blog, literacy, technopark, etc. etc.

  3. I can't understand your fascination for all things Kochi and Kottayam. Is it out of mere frustration or a feeling of being left-out because you're from the local part of Kerala (Trivandrum)? :lol:

    I mean, why else would you pinpoint auto drivers in Ktym and Ekm in a post where everything else is generic. Hey, btw, auto drivers in Kazhakuttom are worse. Didn't you know? :)

  4. Joby - Believe me, there is nothing over which one can even be remotely envious about in either of those two places.

    The reason I pointed them out is because these two cities have the most blatant violation of rules as far as auto fares go. Lol, it seems you have a fixation on Trivandrum, since you seem to spend a fair bit of time in Kazhakkoottam (Technopark, no doubt). Try the buses next time, Trivandrum has a public transport system, something which might be a surprise to folks like you, from the "non-local" parts of our lovely state!

  5. Susan - Lovely to hear from you again. And doubly to hear that you are an international citizen of our lovely city.

    Lol, our views seem to agree on those questions of frustrations. I am hoping that people will learn in the end, even if people like us have to shout at them on and on.

    You will be happy to note that Trivandrum will soon have a fleet of 35 Volvo buses and 120 low-floor buses. By then, we should have an efficient system of route numbers. We are working with the authorities on that.

    Hope to keep hearing from you. Thanks for your support and feedback. Cheers!

  6. Ajaypp, I agree and really ponders myself to all the questions, except to the one area, which Joby has rightfully pointed out.

    You seems really became so much fanatic about Trivandrum City, which could be Only compared on the way which Shiva Sena cries for Mumbai for Marathi kind of thing.

    Auto issue is very common in every part of India, forget Kochi or Kottayam alone. Take Chennai, where the meter shows me only 18 Rs, but I have to pay 80 Rs...... In a few handful cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Chandigharh etc, I have found autowalas charging according to the meter.

    Trivandrum, untill very recently was too notorious for its auto walas.... There were rape incidents committed by auto drivers on lady passengers in Thampanoor area in 2003..... Likewise there was special report came about the worst auto culture of Trivandrum in Aniyara in sept 2004.... Perhaps, its just 2 to 3 years only, auto drivers started having a change in the city, thanks to various schemes introduced by the Traffic Police and the training given. But very much limited in a few areas only.... My house is in Karamana, and I know how the Auto people charge me to take to Poojapura area.... I often end up paying atleast 10 Rs extra apart from meters....

    You too can check that matter........ In Cochin too, you have good auto people, who charge according to Meter.... Try getting some Auto in Thirkkakara region or in Aroor area.... I have seen them using digital meters and charging accordingly.... But very rare species.....

    My appeal to you, is that, you have wonderful vision, wonderful knowledge and very good mind to work for your city. Pls use that to development, rather than criticize or making itself into fanatic, because whatever good you do, a fanatic is bound to destroy all the virtues he has done.... Example- Hitler himself

    With Regards

  7. awesome post and some great comments as well.

    one thing i always thought about asking a public group was!

    is there something called as secularism in india? a single person might be secular but any group is either communal or pseudo secular?.

    w'd like to know ur thoughts?

  8. Lol, Arun, I am not a fanatic but I am an activist certainly. And I am proud of speaking for and standing up for my city, as we all are to various degrees.

    Arun, you don't need to be defensive about Kochi all the time. I picked it because I was talking more about the Kerala context. And Kochi therefore is the most evident example of this publicly condoned law infringement. I have lived in almost every big city in India and believe me, this is an exception together with Chennai. I am not sure of the Tier II cities which are the correct comparison for Cochin, but wherever such daylight robbery is practiced it should be stopped.

    And about the autos in Trivandrum, I have lived here on and off for the last three decades and I cannot recall any en masse departure from metered fares. There are the odd bad apples everywhere, but the vast majority have always been law abiding. And as you say there is a very small minority in Cochin who turn on the meter, but the majority are swindlers. So, let's go by how the majority behave.

    Arun, I am disappointed that your only response has been to the observation about Cochin. You chose to ignore the rest of the musings. In that sense, you are probably nit-picking rather than being holistic. We all need to accept the failings of our own edifices first, and work to make things better.

    Hope to hear from you on how to clean up the auto mess soon. Thanks and cheers!

  9. Lol, RK, I am an atheist, so I guess that makes me secular as well.

  10. Dear Ajay,

    I am not on defences of Kochi, but I am so surprised, that you always pin point Kochi directly or indirectly, for any comparison or issue relating to Trivandrum. I never found you, comparing Trivandrum, a Tier II city on equal grounds with cities like Jaipur or Chandigarh or Bhopal or even our own cities like Kollam or Kozhikode or Thrissur etc.

    Naturally someone will automatically becomes defensive about a city where one lives, when a person continously offensive against it. I rarely have seen any cochin based blogs, openly or directly/indirectly attacking Trivandrum, but I do find more in your as well as in many other forums.

    You can surely make the city you live, either into New york or Kabul, which is your vision and hard work. But why there is a need to pin point a nearby city, that too commercial capital of the state, that earnmarks the biggest revenue earnings to the state.

    I interfered, only because you directly pointed Kochi and Kottayam, when right below the nose in Karamana or Jagathy or Poojapura auto drivers charging excessively. I know this very well, because its just 3 weeks before only I ended up paying 30RS FROM KARAMANA to POOJAPURA, when I know clearly in the meter, it would come maximum only 15 or 20.

    I must say, the city traffic police, has done, a very commendable work, in training and educating the auto drivers, but there are many in southern areas of the city, who still behave the same old fashion.....

    And please donot believe me, you can believe the Janapaksham people, who brought out the famous Trivandrum auto stories in 2004 June's Aniyara. I am damn sure, Janapaksham is a highly Pro-trivandrum based forum and Aniyara was too a part of it, so naturally you should accept that there were many negative incidents in Trivandrum based autos untill 2004..... However a hell lot of them has changed now.... I find them many really disciplined and behaving very good.....

    Then why you don't compare this to Kozhikode's auto tradition, which is highly reputed for its intergity and truthfulness, that they even return a lost purse back to its rightful owner.

    If you say, you want to highlight Kochi similar to Kerala, then why not Kozhikode or Thalaserry, where auto drivers are well known for their honesty.

    My advice as to you, as proud resident of Cochin and person hailing from Trivandrum, that you must can be a great visioner, but let that vision donot get negative against surroundings. I really admire you hardwork for your city, which I must appeal for you to continue. In that process, please donot poke nearby cities, because its so powerful to rise of city based politics and seclusion, which a person like me, donot find it so attractive.......

    Why not, we consider our own example of growth of Delhi and Mumbai...... Both run together and on parallel lines, without poking or fighting each other..... After all, I hope you are not aiming for developing city-states

    With regards

  11. Dear Ajay, I believe an Atheist can't never be secular. If so why Atheist China prohbits any religion or worship. Secular means, you are equal to all religions or indifferent to all religions. I don't think, it could be defined, secular means, you are against all religions.

  12. @ Arun Mohan - You can deny that you are not defending Cochin but the very fact that you rode in when I made a passing, but undeniable, observation about the city proves you wrong.

    I am sure pretty much everyone who has been victimised by the auto drivers in Cochin would agree that what I said was neither wrong nor offensive in any sense. Even you agree that the vast majority of auto-drivers in Cochin do not go by the meter. So where is the "offensive" part in that?

    Why do folks like you always have to revert to cliches like "commercial capital" and "biggest revenue earner" even when totally out of context? Lol, what does revenue generation have anything to do with violation of fare rules? "Commercial capitals" are exempt from the law? Try if that holds true in real commercial hubs like Mumbai.

    All that this reveals is the insecurity inside people like you. One minor pin-prick, and you tilt at the windmills?

    Now a small fact. Aniyara and Janapaksham have nothing to do with each other than the fact that Mr Elias John is involved with both. Aniyara is a programme of the channel NTV while Janapaksham is an NGO.

    And believe me, autodrivers in North Kerala, especially Kozhikode and Kannur are much much better behaved than their brethren in Cochin. I agree with you on that.

    I have much better things to do than poke anyone. Now if anybody is pricked by the truth, then it can't be helped.

    The last time I mentioned that the tallest building in the State is coming up in Trivandrum, there was an avalanche of "proud residents of Cochin" who landed up with claims of "commercial capital" and "earns 70% of revenue". Very predictable, very droll. I wonder why that fact pricked so many people, I mean there was no mention of Cochin or any place within a 100 miles in that post. Yet, the comparison brigade rode in. I suggest you folks wake up to reality and get a life.

    Oh, Arun, there are lots and lots of hate sites by Cochin folk against Trivandrum. You can find these sort of sludge buckets under various names. A few of the authors are regular readers of this blog, I must say, lol! But you would not find many of the same by Trivandrum bloggers against Cochin. I suggest you go talk to those venom-spitters first and persuade them to get off the juice.

    And a small request, please don't spam the comments section with these never-ending arguments. If you have something conclusive to say, like all the autos in Cochin now go by meters, you are welcome. Else, please don't waste our time. Thanks. Cheers!

  13. Arun - Not believing in God or Religion is like being indifferent to them, isn't it? I am indifferent about a person's religion because I don't think that such a thing exists at all. In that sense, I am secular. Even if I am not in the proper bracket, I sure don't care. Cheers!


Thanks for your comment, I will take a look at it and put it up at the earliest.