Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Vacation Reflections in GOC

I am feeling incredibly happy to be back in God's Own Country.

After the initial euphoria of seeing familiar faces and familiar places, reality began to seep in. On the positive side, I see a lot of widened roads, new buildings, new specialty hospitals and other signs of outward development that make me pause and reflect on how much the city has grown since I left. A welcome sight indeed! The development of the city’s formerly congested roads seem to be going full throttle. I see many a flyover, bridges and underpasses coming up and I hope this continues irrespective of the party in power. I also hope that these kinds of developments will not be restricted to one specific city, but that it will spread around.

The heat is quite unbearable and the humidity really drains you and makes you lethargic all day long. I find my days starting quite late in an effort to stay awake the coolest parts of the day. It never used to be this hot and sticky ever. But then again, this is something we are all equipped to handle fairly quickly. Besides, sometime back, when living through the middle of a bitter winter, I had sworn never to complain about the heat if I get a chance to experience it.

Last week saw Sakhavu Achudananthan take his new position as leader of the state. The day of the swearing in ceremony saw red flags and people in red shirts at every street corner. Cars draped with red bits of cloth swished past at break neck speed through narrow streets, putting all others on the road in peril, the passengers inside trying hard not to fall out of the open windows in their eagerness to show their happiness. I was surprised to hear the party of the “poor thozhilali” apparently has a lot of wealth to fall back on; Rs. 4000 crores. At least in these early days, it looks like the LDF government is planning to go full steam ahead in implementing the development projects started by former CM Oommen Chandy (OC). I guess it is a good thing irrespective of who finally gets his/her name inscribed on the foundation stone. However, thanks to OC we have all these projects to look forward to in the near future.

The new CM is in charge of the IT portfolio. It is not his lack of education that worries me greatly; I am hoping with his vast political experience he has some sense of what’s right for the state and what’s not despite some actions to prove otherwise while in opposition. The worrisome fact is that the state is going to be run by a man who has been vehemently opposing Smart City as well as any developmental initiative that OC previously suggested. Can he do a complete about turn and bring in the much-needed investment, which apparently is something against his ‘ideologies’? I pray and hope that it will be the case.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I heard from someone that CM Achudananthan felt that if only 50% of jobs in Smart City go to non-IT related people will he sign the agreement. This is also a person who till the other day was saying that the Smart City project was nothing but a real estate deal meant to pocket commission by people behind this project and that if LDF government assumes power, the first order of business would be sending OC to jail for encouraging Smart City. I hope he really studies the benefits this will bring to the state and the trickle down effect it will have that will be a boon not only to IT folks but to others as well. We need a real enthusiastic and intelligent head of state to foster an environment of growth and development.

Although this aspect worries me a bit, I am still hoping our new CM is surrounded by intelligent civil service folks whose prime motive is state development and not party politics and who will have some influence over the CM and his ministers to do the right thing for the state.

And what’s with LDF’s fondness for changing names? I heard the latest is renaming the Expressway which they thought did not agree with their ideologies one bit, the “North-South” highway. The name change apparently did the trick. Thank God, they did not fall prey to the "wise" suggestion of an LDF MLA , who shall remain unnamed, to call it “bypass.”

Something that does not seem to have changed a whole lot is the general attitude of the people around. Most of them display a callous and ‘don’t care’ attitude that still shocks me. As long as things around them are going well, they care two hoots for anything else. Case in point and something that has been mentioned in this blog before, is the unwillingness of some educated people to exercise their privilege to vote. These people seem to come with a short-term tunneled vision. Long-term forecasts and planning do not interest them at all.

Another thing that I find annoying, apart from the selfishness is the strong tendency of some people to find faults everywhere and in every thing they come across. These people cannot seem to find even an ounce of goodness in what others do or are trying to do. They also seem to possess a remarkably short temper (must be something to do with the incredibly hot weather) and in most cases, a mild conversation about any topic turns into an ugly war of words.

I feel it is pointless trying to explain the situation to such people, as I am sure with their short term thought process; it is hard to see the bigger picture and the brighter future.

Maybe it is just basic human tendency and nothing can be done about it, except for the listener to maintain a dignified silence and respond with maturity.

Apart from a few minor irritants like this, it is lovely to be back. I have really missed my hometown. In spite of the numerous problems ailing it, I just find it so delightful to see the city thriving and trying to keep up with the changes happening all around. Right now as I travel by Parasuram Express to almost the other end of Kerala, rushing past incredibly green paddy fields, flowing rivers, little houses by the way side and young kids playing football, I realize that our state is really blessed. It is good to be home. :)

PS: When I wrote this post, the monsoons had not yet started. Now I am sitting here clutching a blanket and trying not to shiver. So much for cribbing about heat and humidity. :)


Mind Curry said...

clap clap clap! something i have been waiting for eons :) a post by quills!

well looks like you haven't been far from the ground realities of kerala. and you have made some very true and painful observations.

Can he do a complete about turn and bring in the much-needed investment, which apparently is something against his ‘ideologies’?
our politicians are trained to do exactly that. the LDF government will implement most of the things they opposed as "opposition" (they take the meaning too literally i guess), perhaps by changing "expressway" to highway and such things. one friend joked, they will implement smart city project, but to sound right they will say they changed some crucial clauses in the agreement and saved the state!

We need a real enthusiastic and intelligent head of state
i have that dream too!

These people cannot seem to find even an ounce of goodness in what others do or are trying to do
something seen very much in keralites..i dont know why, but its a fact..keralites seem to be bothered about "other" people all the time and not about their own lives..and this bothered is not in a nice way. but i am sure this will also change over time as there is more education and employment and not just "literacy".

this post is sure to get some unhappy comments from hurt prejudices and egos, nonetheless the truth always needs to be told. we need to change a lot from within first before all those external changes can be of any good.

welcome home quills.

quills said...

@mc: Thanks so much. :)I know I have been promising one for ages. Anyway, I think the Kerala air finally did it.

I hope Smart City gets approval soon or else I am sure it will be taken over by Hyderabad or Gurgaon who are very keen I hear to take up the offer.

And yes, the attitude. Yeah hopefully education and modern thinking will replace warped outlook.

And yes, I am expecting some interesting comments. I welcome differences of opinion. This post was written following some observations made during my current trip.

And thanks so much is good to be home. :)

Babin said...

Glad to see your post here Quills. You've made that difficult first step:) congrats!

About VS, I am hopeful the realities of governing a debt ridden state like ours will be a powerful enough force to convert any idealist to at least a partial realist.
Besides, according to the basic principles of Political opportunism, time has arrived for LDF to have an amnesia attack specifically on the things that they preached for the last 5 yrs.

on a different note, your mention about parasuraman express brought a thousand memories into my mind. Day Express Rocks! My fav train. It is quite an experience to travel north to south in kerala on this train. I used to take these trips for granted now I missed it a lot.

Anonymous said...

Many elder have told me that, a keralite doesn't work at home and word hard while away from home.

Its sad that, we are not coming out of the mindset.

But I look at the otherway...Keralites are doing good..Sooner or later, lets hope it will be alright. Because, it cant go worser. ;)

Let these smartcities and expresshighways be a good start !!!

A very good post. Thanks to quills

Jiby said...

great post!!! ur really lucky...the day after i left the monsoons started...i must have shed bucketloads of sweat in the 50 days i was there.

yeah even i hated the selfishness and the "veroruthan nannaayi varalle" tendency of mallus back home...well that is socialism for us!!! if anything good is attempted shouts of corruption surface!!!

loking forward to more posts from u while at home!!!

quills said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
quills said...

babin: Thanks so much for those words of encouragement. I know I had a tough task ahead to keep up the quality and content standards of this blog.

You are so right about the amnesia attack. That seems to be happening right now. You know the funny thing is these guys when in opposition tormented OC and had strikes and hartals and dharnas almost every other day from what I read in the news. But now, there is not a single group camped outside the Secretariat. Is it really because all their problems have been resolved?

The Day express is a fun train to ride, provided I get up on time to catch it when it leaves the station early morning. :) But yeah, I love traveling on it too, as long as I don't have to wait extra long hours at each station for the other express trains to pass.

@anonymous: Thanks a lot. I just wrote after observing the current situation and what touched me most. The narrow mindset is what has to change. Like MC said, hopefully through education there will come a day soon when the average Keralite sees things more positively.

@jiby:Wow thanks for those kind words!:) Hope your exams went well.
Yeah, pity you missed the monsoon showers. It has been pouring here. We finally got a sunny day here in the city today.

I am also so sick of the "veroruthan nannaayi varalle" syndrome and the ability to speak ill of others behind their back. I am not generalizing, but a lot of people really take a kind of sick pleasure in doing that.

I will do my best to write a few.

@shinu: Thanks so much for your encouraging words. The DOC is an important blog for all of us to express our thoughts and suggestions regarding our homestate. I applaud MC for starting this site singlehandedly and raising it to such a popular blogsite for Kerala issues. I am sure MC along with the rest of the team is going to continue and deliver even more thought provoking posts for all of us to ponder.

Shinu, you should join too. You are such a strong writer with incredible good thoughts and sense about Kerala.

JK Vijayakumar said...

I think the arrival of Prof Prbhat Patnaik as Planning Commission Vice-Chairman gives the right signals of LDF Govt, what they are going to do.He is known for his liberalised economy supportiveness, while being a leftist. Kerala CPIM is also changing towards Bengal style, for attracting more investments.Don't worry, hope for the best, and wait.

Shinu Mathew said...

Thanx for the invite :)
I too would love to join such an interesting and intellectual group, but there are some contrains. First, I left Kerala about 11 years back and since then never stayed there for more than a week. So all i have is fond memories but now it's a totally changed Kerala. I would like to write my articles first hand. So I don't want to sit here in Mumbai, and ghost writing. Ofcource if I have anything worthwhile, I'll let you guys know. Just being part of the team doesn't augur well for my intentions.
Thanks once again. Please keep visiting my blog for latest news and a Monsoon Diary (of Mumbai).

Biju said...

Our new CM was opposing the SmartCity project on grounds of it being just a eye washer in the name of IT industry since the actual gainers were real estate BIG WIGS. I do not know how far this is true. Nevertheless it would be great that he makes an about turn (politcians are famous to eat their own words-as MC rightly said).

I was also in Kerala recently and I did observe wider roads and at the same time the quality is comparable to world standards. The state is growing in the right direction. And I hope things will change for the good in the coming years.

Very good blog quills.
Minor irritants will always be around. But

Anonymous said...

hey pazhangalam , u said kerala cpim is in bengal style, are u stil in the twentieth century, go to both these states and see the difference,i guess u have not been to kerala lately, and also smart city and express highway both which were essential to kerala as one would have created millions of job to mallus and the other wud hav saved time travellin n saved accident deaths have been opposed by the so called cpim, now how dare do u say that they are in a devolpment way

and lastly people like pazhangalam support the communists blind foldingly n give them the vote, fight for them and feed them and ruin the state, but its the coming generations which will suffer for these tragedies..

now u big bunch of communist loosers keep supprting the cpim till all keralites end up outside kerala

Anonymous said...

if the smart city evr goes to another state i am sure there would be a revoluion in kerala by the pro devolment minded people ,

the cpim is not the people's party but it is the gunda's party

and they are not for the people but agains the people

and the vast majority of the cpim people want to goe to the gulf and america( both capitalist rich regioens of the world, if they wanna be poor communist why do they wanna come here)that surprises me.

Anonymous said...

Mind that LDF was voted in by the people when the debate on the issue was very much alive. What does it show?

Jiju said...

Hey do you guys have any comments on Smart city?
What your beloved OC kept it in for...
Look into the facts and then respond

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