Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Kochi Metro

Imagine getting into a colourful station and taking in the ambiance while waiting for your ticket. 



The Kochi Metro has finally arrived. Sreedharan, the metro man has made it happen again. It has many firsts to its credit, one of them being that they honoured about 800 construction workers with a Sadhya (meal on banana leaf) before the inauguration. All these workers are from North India, namely Bihar, Bengal and Assam.
Travelled by the Metro last week and was impressed by the efficiency of the staff.  

The first leg covers 13 kilometers consisting of eleven stations. This is again a first as no Metro had done a trial run for 13 kms. Later this will be extended to 22 stations from Aluva to Petta. 


The minimum fare in this sector is Rs 10 and the maximum Rs 40.



I like the murals at the stations. Each station has a different drawing which has got something to do with the local area. 


At Palarivattom station I saw these pictures of some unique flowers with the names given in English and Malayalam.


I noticed that most of the commuters were there for a joy ride and there were some school kids too with parents. 



Plastic bottle recycling machine is installed in one station and will be gradually added in all the stations.
Another first is the employment of 23 Transgender by a government company.
Some other features of the metro was the presence of points where you can speak to the driver in case of an emergency. 



Even though it runs through the city, one can't miss the greenery all around.



Some of the metro pillars have vertical garden which will use recycled municipal waste. 

The Kochi metro is proud to give equal opportunity to both genders by employing nearly 1000 women, of which 7 will be behind the wheel and serve as loco pilots.  
Another first is the record collection of Rs 1.77 crore in the first week.
I made a one min film with the pictures/videos that I captured during my maiden journey.



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Stretching and twisting

Nothing like seeing the youngsters taking an interest in Yoga. 



International Yoga day was celebrated last Wednesday and the participants were  a mix of the elderly and young ones. 



For those who could not sit on the floor, special chairs were provided. 



Stretching is one of those basic body movements that we forget to do on a daily basis. 




And the same goes for twisting. With proper guidance from the instructors, practically all could do it well. 




Some exercises work well with the help of a partner. While performing there is also a sense of “helping each other” 




While doing the “vrikshasan” alone, your raised palm goes only up to the top of your head, whereas while doing it with a partner your palm moves further by which there is a good stretch on the side ribs. 





The eye exercise is very relevant especially in the present era of computer screens 



I captured the complete program in a video of 16 minutes, but had to break it up in parts to send it across in 1.5 min capsules through WhatsApp. (the latest mode of communication for all) 



On the whole a good experience. My recommendation - make Yoga a daily habit.



Friday, April 28, 2017

The Pulpit

It is said that you can make three wishes when you visit a new church.
Last week we had been to the Cathedral at New Delhi (Gol Dak Khana) on Easter day. 



Was impressed by the way it is maintained with no major changes from the time it was built. Even the distance between the pews was something to be appreciated as it gave enough leg space as well as space for kneeling. 


The Sacred Heart Cathedral was the second Catholic Church built in Delhi by the O.F.M. Cap priests.
Out of the eight architects invited to submit their plans, the one by Mr Henry Med was finally selected. 


The benches too were designed by Mr Med and was made by a Chinese Catholic at a cost of Rs 75/- each.
There are many stories about how the church came up, including the donations from Japan and China.
One day an unknown young man came to meet Fr Luke. He left after leaving a short message: “withdraw your money from the bank for it is going to crash” Fr Luke did not question the veracity of the message, and withdrew his building fund from the Alliance Bank. The day after the Church building fund was withdrawn, the bank indeed crashed.
The mural of the last supper is also unique. It is one of those rare ones in which Judas is not shown. The Capuchin Friars working at that time in Agra Archdiocese were used as models for the Apostles and Jesus. The names of the Apostles whom these Fathers represent are painted below the mural.  For example Fr Basil, portraying Jesus was an Irish. 


The choir loft used to house a massive pipe organ which was functional till the early seventies 


For such a big and renowned church I found that the sound system was not up to the mark and there was some sort of an echo or reverberation. Later while reading the history of the church I found the reason for the echo.  The dome was so designed that it used to enhance the voice of the celebrant or preacher . The architecture of the thirties had no way of foreseeing the acoustic needs of the electronic era. During the seventies the church consulted many companies including Philips to make the sound system effective. It looks like the mystery of feedback of the sound system could not be fully resolved.
I got to photograph the place at night. The sunflowers are sort of confused (don’t know which side to face) 


I am always fascinated by the pulpit of the churches I visit (if there is one that still stands) The pulpit is not in use now anywhere in the world for almost half a century.
The woodwork of the pulpit in this Cathedral is simple but elegant. 


Compare this with the one I clicked at Brussels (Belgium) What intricate work. 


And the one at Notre Dame Paris


Here is the simplest one I found at a Cathedral near Normandy (France) The idea was that the priest should have an elevated place for his sermon. 



And here is the one depicted by our own cartoonist Mario Miranda with a humorous twist to it.