Friday, January 7, 2011

A New Year in Kerala

I spent the New Year in Kerala, at our ancestral home. It was nice. Would you believe that I was able to photograph a grasshopper there who it seemed, was trying to get a sip of beer. See below:


Poor chap. He didn’t get any, though Kerala reportedly drank Rs.92 crores of liquor for Christmas and Rs.45 crores for the New Year!

Getting to Kerala from Chennai after Christmas and returning after New Year   was quite difficult. The trains were full no matter what class you were looking for. Air fares were atrocious; around Rs.14000 one way. Fortunately I was able to get a seat for Rs.6300 one way. Book early and save! But one can’t do that always. The opportunity hike of domestic air fares in India is shocking. A friend was kind enough to arrange the return passage by train.

I had to go to Trivandrum from Cochin. That was done by car. The Honda City with our driver took 5 ½ hours (2pm to 7.30 pm) non-stop to cover the 220kms on National Highway 47. Years ago, it used to take about 3 ½ hours with an Ambassador or Fiat! The road surface was not too bad but the two lane width mostly and heavy traffic caused problems.

Imagine there is a demand that the National Highways in Kerala need to have only two lanes. As of now the width is pegged at 35 meters in Kerala against the national specification of 70 meters! The State Government's idea of permitting public meetings on National Highways has been quashed by the Supreme Court.

Today’s news papers carry a report that a road project in Kerala which was delayed for four years is to be implemented now. That’s good. Who bothers that the cost estimate of Rs.1 crore per kilometer four years back has escalated to Rs.4 crores per kilometer now. 

God save God’s own Country!

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