Category Archives: India

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Kerala among top ten holiday destinations!

Category : India , Kerala , Tourism

Kerala Temple Festival
Kerala Temple Festival (Photo credit: beapen)

Lonely Planet has named Kerala among the world’s 10 best family destinations in 2014. This is a historic moment, and an opportunity to help the reeling economy of the state badly battered by the returning expatriates. But are we (and our leaders) ready to embrace this opportunity?

I have blogged about our power crisis and promised one on our waste management crisis, which I could not deliver. Do the rating organizations take our problems also into consideration before we are added to the elite club that includes New York City, Denmark, Prague, Iceland, Italy and Hawaii?

Our homestay industry is another example of gross mismanagement. A quintessential malayalee expatriate (ഗൾഫ്‌ കാരൻ) always builds a big house, that invariably remains unused or converted into a homestay. So Kerala is replete with homestays everywhere that are mostly not licensed. It is important that homestays are regulated as it can raise several security issues. But the present system is neither suitable for effective regulation nor effective data collection on foreign visitors. These are the things you need if you decide to register your homestay legally. (From the kerala tourism website)

English: From the backwaters in Kerala.
English: From the backwaters in Kerala. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Prescribed application form duly filled in.
  • Proof of ownership/lease of the building.
  • Location plan showing access to the building from the major roads (need not be scale.
  • Plan and elevation of the existing building.
  • Plan and elevation of the building incorporating the proposed alteration, if required, certified by a qualified engineer.
  • Photographs of the building, including interiors.
  • Police clearance certificate from the Local Station House Officer.
  • The department has prescribed regulatory conditions to be abided by promoters of classified projects. The promoters should furnish the acceptance of these regulatory conditions in the prescribed form. The regulatory conditions and proforma of acceptance is appended along with the application proforma.   
English: Backwater in Kerala, India
English: Backwater in Kerala, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are lucky, you may receive a registration in 6 months, that is valid for 2 years. And here is the most absurd part. After 2 years, you have to go through the process again, submit all the above documents again, for renewing the registration. Once you register, you have to upload your visitor statistics using a system, that is even difficult for a tech savvy person like me to use. On top of that Kerala Water Authority will impose commercial rate on your homestay, even if it is unused. The red tape is killing an industry that accounts for 15-20 per cent of the State’s tourism industry.

Hope Kerala’s tourism minister AP. Anilkumar and the Kerala Tourism director S. Harikishore will take note of this. Hope they can bring many more tourists to ദൈവത്തിന്ടെ സ്വന്തം നാട്.

Thanks Dr +Ashique K T for the beautiful pictures of Kerala!

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My personal experience with KIRTADS healer

Traditional healer stand in an open market in ...
Image via Wikipedia
So on to my personal experience with a KIRTADS healer. I went inside one of the shacks (there were many, specialised in various segments perhaps) and met a dark, well built healer with a smooth-shaven face. (Not the features you expect for a traditional healer.) I told him that one of my friends has a thick skin condition like psoriasis. He immediately recognised psoriasis (may be it is a common complaint) and advised me that psoriasis requires exfoliation of thick skin from outside and purification of blood from inside and recommended concoctions for both. I realised that at a conceptual level, their approach is not very different from ours. Purification of blood is a very popular concept among traditional healers. It is a very appealing concept and has very high placebo value. Even if you go to a modern pharmacy in India and ask for “blood purification mix”, I am sure you will get something or the other OTC!!
Next I asked him whether he has any medicine for being fair. I sensed a qualm before he offered me “slim oil” for the same. May be he equated fair to beauty and by a complicated reasoning process – beauty to being slim. He did not offer me any further explanation. I feel “fairness creams” is a modern fad and never existed before. That brings me to certain ludicrous claims of Indian “fairness creams”. More on this in the next post.
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The COMplete growth PLAN

English: USDA MyPlate nutritional guide icon
Image via Wikipedia
Just as we welcome Dr Prasad’s Laddoos, our TV advertisements also give us several “medically (in)correct” information. Today I saw one ad while watching a malayalam movie. A group of mothers go to a nutrition research centre to find the truth about a children’s dietary supplement. The doctor explains to them that he has been conducting research on kids consuming the COMplete PLAN and show kids in bright yellow T shirts. The others not taking the drink are in dull grey outfit and look visibly depressed. I was impressed by the doctor’s claim that consuming the drink makes the kids grow twice as fast. But my excitement was short lived. Another drink promised to boost the stamina three times! They had none other than Dhoni and Sachin to vouch for them. I am sure tomorrow’s world will be full of giants with huge stamina! 
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