Thenmala Diaries 

After much pleading and threatening to go on my own lest they came with me, my family finally decided to bend to my wishes and go to Thenmala.

Dad said he’d drive, since Google said we’ll reach there in two hours and fourty five minutes.
It took four hours. 

Anyway, once we reached the ecotourist park, we found out that there were four packages we’d have to pay individually for.

We decided on the Leisure Zone and the Adventure Park ( Dad wasn’t too hot on this one). I was kinda bummed that we wouldn’t have enough time to visit the butterfly park or see the beautiful fountains at night, but I suppose I’d return to see them both some other day!

The Leisure Zone was basically just a long path to walk, surrounded by greenery and dinosaur statues.  Continue reading

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My IFFK Experience <

Last week, I was finally able to be a part of something I’ve wanted to experience for a long time- the International Film Festival, Kerala (IFFK). A lot of my friends had praised it to high heaven, so much so that even I (admittedly not much of a film-lover) felt like my life wouldn’t be complete without treading on its grounds even once.

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So first, here’s a little something about IFFK. Its like any other film festival out there- a place for like minded people to mingle and cultivate interest in films of different themes and types. There is also a competition segment where the audience can vote for the films that please them the most. 14 screens were engaged for public viewing and about 13,000 people registered as delegates this year. We were asked to pay 300rs (500 for non-students) to register for a pass that would allow us to enter those theaters that hosted this festival. The cost was pretty low considering I’d have to pay at least 90rs to see one film normally- and here I could watch at least 6 films a day for more than a week! We were lucky we registered as soon as news got out, because a lot of my classmates were unable to register as there were no further seats available.

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Of Rusty Cages and Monkey Butts

So in spite of having lived within stone’s throw of the oldest zoo in India for most of my life, I can count the number of times I’ve visited it on one hand. Recently I decided to pop in and see how much it had changed (hopefully) with rollingstones2k16 and though I could see some difference, it was still vastly disappointing.

Not in the case of the animals housed, mind you. They had a very good ‘collection’. My issue was with the tiny spaces the animals were forced into and the general hygiene. It felt awful to take pictures, but you know what they say- a picture speaks louder than a thousand words. (Or something to that effect)

So the trivandrum museum is a pretty beautiful place.

I like going here, especially with friends, because it’s just a great place to sit and talk. Maybe take a couple of photos because the green of the grass in the background will make us look 110% better.

The zoo is a part of the Museum, and adults have to pay 20Rs as entrance fee (extra if you have a camera and plan to use it). Unless you run pretty fast, it’ll probably take you more than an hour to explore it.

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Trip to Magic Planet 

So dad decided to surprise us with a family trip. Since I was in the middle of a ‘friendly’ quarrel with him (I’d had other plans that day, and I was a bit pissed at having to drop them) I didn’t ask about the destination.

Imagine my surprise when we drove up to this

Not many people would know about this place, even in my home town. So here’s the gist.

Magic Planet is a theme park dedicated exclusively to magic and its practice. It prides itself as the world’s first magic mansion, and was established by magician Muthukad.

Nightmare fuel 1 😐

There was a bus deployed just for taking us visitors from the parking area to the park gate (very walkable distance, but hey, whatever floats their boat) Continue reading

A few Glimpses of South India

My family isn’t one to go on vacations often, but the very few we do take are memorable indeed. I found a few old pictures in my computer, so I wanted to share them with you guys! ^^

Keep in mind, I was about eight years younger when I took these pictures, and I’m not the world’s greatest photographer :3

1- Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

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Kanyakumai is the southernmost tip of Peninsular India. It’s name was derived from the Devi Kanya Kumari temple in the same region.It is a popular tourist destination, well renowned for it’s expansive beaches and elaborately decorated temples. It is especially well known for it’s sunrises and sunsets.

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Of Tailor Shops and Boundaries

So, my college has this ridiculous tradition where once you’ve reached the third year, you’re forced to wear ‘formal clothing’ once a month. And obviously, because this is India, our only ‘formal clothing’ is a saree.

Now for those who don’t know what a saree is, it is basically this long cloth wrapped around a woman as elegantly as possible.

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Beautiful right? Only, its really annoying to wear one, particularly for girls like me who aren’t used to it.  Continue reading

Catharsis

This is not a story, nor an essay. And obviously it isn’t poetry either. I reckon its more like a diary entry? I’m not sure. Whatever it is, it is important enough for me to want to shout it out to the world.

There’s this boy in our class whom everyone treats as the class clown. I suppose he likes it, because most of the time he plays along. Its rather amazing how thick skinned he is, because I’m not sure I’d have been able to handle that many jabs if I were him.

Then a few days ago, he told me he was feeling down in the dumps. He felt like there wasn’t any point in working hard because he never seemed to get the results he’d wanted.

Hearing him say that made me feel shitty, because more than once I’d been an accomplice to his ‘class-idiot’ act. Even more, I didn’t know what I could do to help. I told him the usual stuff- Everyone feels this way and Just don’t think about it and Go do the stuff you like instead of moping around. Those words sounded hollow even to my ears.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I know I’d wished for someone to do more than just give me ‘words of wisdom’ when I was feeling sad and depressed. I’d fantasized about a prince (or a queen- I’m not picky) swooping down on a unicorn to save me, but then reality hit me really hard across the face and I grudgingly picked up the pieces by myself.

I knew I was no prince, but I wanted to do something special. The guy liked detective stories and solving puzzles so I figured, hey! Why not a treasure hunt? 

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The Great Indian (Gender) Divide

I remember a time when it was socially acceptable for me to play with boys. In fact, during my primary classes I had more interests in common with them than my girl friends. Though it took a LOT of prodding to get accepted into the guy circle, it was worth it, as I finally had someone to play BeyBlade with.  My upper primary, high school and higher secondary classes were all female-only so I had limited to no interaction whatsoever with the opposite gender. Thanks to certain rumors (we all know that girls-only schools thrive on them) I became convinced that men were the cliché wolves in sheep’s clothing and that ‘good’ girls never associated with them. Before I knew it, I had begun to regard interaction between the sexes the same way the society did-I, who used to enjoy playing with my guy friends. This change in perception took even me by surprise, and as college began, I took it upon myself to be more open about such matters. It all went well, I met someone I could consider my best friend, and I was starting to get over my irrational fear of men.

Then I began to notice things change around me. Outside the college, people began to throw disapproving glances whenever I talked with my male classmates. This reached its zenith when an old lady actually pinched me hard when I and a friend were having a perfectly innocent conversation in a bus. We weren’t even loud, and it irked me that I was getting ‘punished’ when he was the one doing all the talking. Even among my peers in a different class I attended, some girls decided to make me an object of observation when I so much as smiled at the general direction of males, as if they were willing me to make one wrong move so they could pounce on me. Now I was the victim and I realized how it felt to be judged.

Is friendship defined by gender? Is there some sort of unspoken code that deems that xx can be friends only with xx? In what is considered a ‘progressive’ society, how is interacting with males a crime? From my experience, male friends can be one of the most treasured people in your life. And even if the relationship is of a romantic nature, its hypocritical how we promote movies about young love but are fiercely antagonistic to it in reality. Is love acceptable only between George and Malar? If we can keep ourselves from throwing bricks at the screen when two lovers hold hands and dance around proclaiming their love, surely we can stop ourselves from pinching the girl who dares to speak with a boy. Surely we can keep ourselves from saying “She deserved it, she was out with her boy friend” about a girl who was raped.  Surely we can keep ourselves from judging others.

What we, as a society, need to realize is that it is none of our business. We have no right to interfere with other people, granted that they are strangers. Even if they are related to us by way of ‘my father’s sister’s husband’s mother’s brother’s son’s granddaughter’ (the kind of messy relationship we Indians bring up only during these situations and marriages), we do not have a say on everything they do. I’ve often come to wonder how it was that my parents and grandparents were comfortable with my guy friends while it was a crime according to random people I didn’t even know.  Our opinions, views and judgments are unwanted-though it seems unacceptable, this is the truth. Gone are the days when girls and boys shied away from each other and a simple touch amounted to being a ‘bad girl’. Gone are the days when women were passive. We are equals now, and as equals we DESERVE to stand with men. We DESERVE to not have our virtue questioned by others just because we exercise our equality.  We DESERVE to be human. And (though its sad that we have to voice this so that people could understand) we DESERVE the right to have companions of both genders.

 

And to the old lady who pinched me all those days back, my grandma is disgusted by you.