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SHOPPING AT DELITE SHOPPING CENTRE
India has many small shops, a family running a family goods business which would have a little of everything. In this store, next to the Delite Café in Princess Street, there are ayurvedic medications, household cleaning equipment, pots and pans, torch lights and flasks, chocolates, toys so you get the picture.
Thermos flask with cover 390 inr
Torch light with two AA batteries 140 inr
Ayurvedic medications for stomach, and stress 150 inr
A fan 50 inr
730 inr I wanted him to give me a discount but he didn’t so I gave him 720 inr, which he accepted.
India is full of these family owned and run shops, from small shops on bicycle wheels to fairly big sized fancy goods store.
Written Aug 28, 2008
INDIA and ITS FUTURE
This is a personal opinion. It is rather dim from many points of view. The economic development is so uneven, with hardly any investment in infrastructure or human potential.
Health care for every one, even though touted as existent, is near non existent.
Roads are full of pot holes and every day there is power cut of electricity.
The health status of the population has so deteriorated that the young and capable are dying of heart disease and India has the dubious distinction of being the Diabetes Capital of the world
Traffic is a metaphor for the selfishness of the society and lack of discipline.
If I were you, I would watch China! That is the model to follow. Don’t get lost in the haze of the discussions about Democracy.
Each day there are bombs going off somewhere or other. Northeastern states have an ongoing insurgency very similar to the ones in Myanmar. Moslems are becoming more and more militant and each year quite few die because of terrorism.
Written Aug 28, 2008
In the course of one day in Cochin, I was greeted by a similar refrain: I remember your face , you have been here before. Perfect strangers.
I can understand the people at the hotel recognizing a guest who has come to the same hotel more than once, but perfect strangers.
Now in Cochin, I use the same adage I use in Cuba, I am interested in getting to know people who want to know me in the street.
A banana seller, the pharmacists, the chai maker at the vegetarian restaurant, I can understand, there have been some contact in the past with them, perhaps even more than casually. Bur perfect strangers?
An autorikshaw driver in front of the hotel: you have stayed at this hotel before, I have seen you on the street?
My usual patent answer, no you have mistaken me for someone else. This is my first time.
Then a waiter at one of the newly constructed “café” near the vypeen ferry comes rushing out: I remember your face, I never forget any faces. As usual my pat answer, you cant remember me, I have never been here before.
Two or three shopkeepers along the road to the synagogue. I greet them since their greeting is genuine, since they are friends with the cobbler and the tailor (Versace of cochin). In fact the cobbler will duplicate my shoes !
I went to see a friend of mine, and one of the clerks accompanied me: once again, I have seen you, eventhough it was two years ago that I had gone to the same office.
Booksellers recognized me, that I take it to be an honour. Bought: Amitav Ghosh’s latest book; Naipauls authorized biography; the French translation of Kamala Das My story and another French translation of a Kottayam writer, C Radhakrishnan…
Without asking, he gives me a 10 per cent discount. ( IDIOM bookstore)
The “antique’ dealer on the left as you go towards the synagogue, his shop girl, says hello and when I asked for the price of a Mezuzah on sale ( these items are becoming a rarity, and very soon un obtainable), he called for the owner, who came over and greeted me like an old friend, and offered a price, 30 per cent cheaper than the one he had given me, one year and half ago. You are a regular customer, so I give you my best price, I agree with him, the price was very good..
The place is crawling with tourists, I cant say I have a distinct face, but it has something to do with their memory, or is it the fact that I have been here before, or is it the survival acumen that makes their memory sharper?
Written Aug 27, 2008
Went for a walk. Towards the Bishop’s House. On the way they were shooting a Malayalam movie called The Boss, and we were walking up to the area and we were included in the set. A car is coming speeding up and the man who looks like BOSS was sitting there, he was rotund and fitted the part very well.
We had to repeat our original innocent walk of a tourist couple walking in a street in Cochin, there were autorikshaws, pedestrians and bicycles coming in the other direction. Knowing the Malayalee penchant for memory, in a couple of years time, people are going to greet me: hey I have seen you in that movie?
Written Aug 27, 2008
In today’s newspaper, there is a plea to include everyone in this economic surge. 60 per cent of the country is illiterate and I find that only about 25 per cent of the country is intelligently literate. The figure is higher for Kerala but even there, judging by the quality of young people working in tourist industry, one is left to wonder about an education system that has left so many people incapable of learning anything but only capable of memorizing. For the powers to be it is good to have a large stock of people who are not educated and freely available for labour at a cheaper rate. Thus the resurgence of much of the tourism sector, where one could employ many more people, the service sector where many more people than necessary could be seen to be working. To me there is no point in talking about the hypocrisy of the matter, when 400 million people, nearly 40 per cent of the population live for one usd or less per day...
The educational system has already fallen down, the public health is tethering on breakdown, doctors have been driven into the private sector to make a comfortable living but even for those who can afford to pay, the acumen is not clearly comforting or correct from the diagnostic point of view.
I certainly hope that they will spend some money, decrease the corruption and the huge pockets of bureaucrats who become rich by taking money to do the work they are paid to d
The new economy caters for those who are seen as productive members of the society. Not workers not wage earners but those who know the system to lubricate it well enough to get ahead financially. It does not take originality to do this, but it does take corruption and increasing corruption.
India makes me realize that for all its poverty, Cuba is much more oriented towards helping its citizens than India and that the solidarity the Cubans feel with each other is a quality alien to the ordinary Indian.
Written Jul 16, 2007
Because of his friendliness and his way of talking, I decided to give him a Che coin from Cuba and he was very happy. He wanted to give me his emal . I gave him my card with my email in it. He took me back to the hotel and from there to the jetty from which I was to take a ferry to Ernakulum. While at the jetty, he wanted to take a picture with me and said that he was going to put my visiting card and our picture together in his autorikshawa and hoped that it would become an eye catcher for the tourists he hopes to ferry in his Ferrari, in actual fact a Bajaj autor rikshaw. He was laughing and joking with his fellow auto rikshaw drivers and when I said good bye to him I knew I have met a happy man.
Hareesh with his Ferrari from Cochin, kerala
Written Jul 14, 2007
Cochin, 13th July 2007
The other night, looking for an autorikshaw at 6 30 pm, and finding nonw, I had walked towards Mattanchery, where I was supposed to meet Rockey Neroth. While none passed me by, I could see a line snaking around the entrance of the ferry to Ernakulam. A group of autorikshaw drivers were there, joking around . A young man came over to me, spoke in the typical pidgin English of this tourist area, he, pointing out to another driver, is your uncle. Okay I joined along, going over to the driver (who had somewhat of a grandiose name of shah Jehan, the emperor who built Taj Mahal)…
Soon Rockey arrived in his car, and off we went.
I had not thought about that incident until this morning, as I was walking towards the Pharmacy to buy some medications. The autorikshaw stopped, the same young man, where are you going? Just to the pharmacy, I am going that way hop in, without hesitation I Jumped in. we drove the short distance to Tara Medical and while there, I invited him for tea at the restaurant next door
My name is Hareesh. And that is my Ferrari. And I could immediately tell that he is naturally friendly and that he was not looking for anything from me. Just to pass a little time away. He showed pictures of his two boys. And asked me where I am from?
To make matters less difficult, I said Cuba. For some reason he said, do they speak the same language there as in Argentina? I realized that he might have met some argentine tourists. Me gusta cochin mucho, lluvia y calor pero me gusta. He said. To my surprise.
Written Jul 14, 2007
The Quest Features & Footage is an independent media initiative based in Kochi, India. It is an outcome of the concern felt by a group of journalists in the print and electronic media about the content of the mainstream media. The attempt is to promote journalism that digs below the surface to throw light on conditions determining real social development.
The Quest undertakes innovative research, documentation and dissemination of information
They very much remind me of independent minded journalists who are interested in social welfare of their communities. They remind me of the courageous people at
Consumers Association of Penang, 228 Jalan Macallister, 10400 Pulau Pinang 04-229 3511
The authoritarian malaysian government tried to shut them down a couple of times.
Written Apr 22, 2007
A recent survery conducted revealed the division between belief that one speaks the language and the actual ability to communicate the language. While close to 25 per cent of the Indians felt that they spoke English, only 5% could actually speak English, the other 20 per cent could barely communicate. You would find that while making new friends, especially uninvited ones, in Cochin. The nuances of the English Language are lost on them. One cannot blame them, after all they might speak Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi and English is a late comer to their language treasury.
I saw this poster in Kalvathy road on my recent stay in Cochin. Advertising a comfortable stay in air conditioned comfort, they showed a caricature of christ in all the full gory of having been crucified recently.
Malayalam speakers are right to say, we dont understand them, either!
Written Apr 10, 2007
I met Suresh the owner of Touristland India travel agency just a stones throw away from the Ernakulam Junction Railway Station, four visits to Cochin ago, in Ernakulam. Since then he has become a good friend and is extremely keen to organize and help with all matters related to tourism. He tries to get tickets reserved on an overbooked train, has contacts with airline booking agencies, got me bus tickets couple of times, and more importantly offers his friendship without any ulterior motives. I have been to his house at Vaikom many a times and stayed over a couple of times and always enjoyed the authentic kerala food prepared by his wife. He has two lovely children and they are as friendly as their father.
On this visit, he was waiting for us at the Cochin Airport and put his car at our disposal for the stay. He came over to Fort cochin to visit us and also shared lunch and dinner with us. A lunch at Metropolitan Hotel where his agency maintains a desk was on him, despite my pleas to pay for the lunch.
Written Jan 4, 2007
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