Thursday, November 27, 2008


Fort Kochi is located at the entrance of the Kochi natural harbor. Opposite Fort Kochi is the scenic Vypeen Island. Due to its strategic location, Fort Kochi was under the control of the Dutch, Portuguese and the British. All of them have left a lasting impact on this place. You will feel the difference in ambience compared to other parts of Kerala.

Once a fishing village of no significance in the Kingdom of Kochi in the pre-colonial Kerala, the territory was granted to the Portuguese in 1503 by the Rajah of Kochi, who also gave them permission to build a fort near the waterfront to protect their commercial interests. The first part of the name Fort Kochi comes from this fort. Behind the fort, the Portuguese built their settlement and a wooden church, which was rebuilt in 1516 as a permanent structure and which today is known as the St Francis Church.

Fort Kochi remained a Portuguese possession for 160 years. In 1683 the Dutch captured the territory from the Portuguese, destroyed many Portuguese, particularly Catholic, institutions including convents. The Dutch held Fort Kochi as their possession for 112 years until 1795, when the British took control by defeating the Dutch. Four hundred and forty four years of foreign control of Fort Kochi ended in 1947 with the Indian independence.

A mix of old Portuguese, Dutch and British houses from these colonial periods line the streets of Fort Kochi. The landmark that causes perhaps the most public and visitor interest is a series of pre-colonial  Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront, believed to have been introduced by Chinese traders in the early 1300s. SANTA CRUZ BASCILICA and St.Francis Church are other places of importance. Sometimes you can see ships sailing so close to the shore that you can wink to the captain.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I gave my car for a minor repair and went for a short walk. As I was walking, I saw two small children running from house to house very excitedly. “We will go to that house!.” one boy exclaimed. “I don’t know where that house is,” the other boy said. One boy held few old newspapers in his hand.. I saw them running to several houses. They were desperately looking for something. My curiosity was aroused.

When they came close to me, I asked them what they were doing. They said they were collecting old news papers to sell and buy sweets. They just want Rs.4. I asked them if they had breakfast. One boy said no. The other boy said that there was old cooked rice at home but it cannot be eaten because it is stale. One boy’s name was Bharath and the other was Deepu. They were brothers. One was 6 years old and the other was 7. They were living with their mother. The father was not staying with them. The mother had gone out to do some work She will come only in the evening and cook food.They were studying in a nearby school and they get their noon meal free. But that day was Saturday and there was no school and therefore no lunch.

However, they gave me the impression that they were not bothered about breakfast or lunch. They want to eat some sweets. That was their main concern. I told them that I will give them Rs.4. Their eyes widened with disbelief. How will a stranger give them money to buy sweets? The boy with the newspaper said he will give the papers in exchange. They were unaware that for the few news papers they will not get any money at all. I gave them the money and told them that I didn’t want the papers. In the meanwhile, it started drizzling and it was time to go back to the mechanic. The boys told me to take at least one paper to protect my head from rain. I refused and started walking. The little boys started running to the far away shop to buy sweets unmindful of the rain.

What will be the future of these children? They were small, pure, friendly, innocent, guileless and trusting.
Will they get a decent education and a good job?
Will they become laborers? OR
Will they become anti social elements?
What is your opinion? Can you hazard a guess?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Christmas season is slowly approaching us. Kochi shops have started displaying decorative items and greeting cards. There is hardly any business at the moment. Soon business will start in a trickle, then there will be a steady flow and then a deluge. Financial meltdown, economic slump, lack of money will not deter Christians to celebrate the birth of our Lord, Saviour, Jesus Christ. Even people belonging to other religions will at least put up a star or decorative lighting.

I saw three ships go sailing by,
Sailing by, sailing by;
I saw three ships go sailing by,
On Christemas day in the morning.

Joseph and Mary was on the ship,
On the ship, on the ship;
Joseph and Mary was on the ship,
On Christemas day in the morning.

Joseph whistled and Mary singed,
And all the bells in Heaven ringed;
All the bells in Heaven ringed,
On Christemas day in the morning.

Monday, November 10, 2008


As I said in my previous post, several thoughts came to my mind on hearing the story of Thomas and Mary. They are :

!) Thomas and Mary were not beggars to start with. They were normal healthy people who worked hard and earned money. The mistake they made was not to save money. They spent their money thinking their capacity to earn will last forever. Soon they became old and sick and there was no one to support them. This is the mistake many youths do.

2) One of these days, they are likely to fall down on the road and die.

3) What gives them the motivation and the zest to live on? What future do they have?

4} Why are not charitable organizations coming forward to help people like them?

5) Why are not news papers coming forward to highlight the plight of these poor suffering people so that there is more awareness in the society?

6) The Indian Government has sent an unmanned space craft to the moon although a sizable section of the society is starving.

7) The priest is giving alms to poor people who desperately need money and starving. Will this amount to inducing conversion to Christianity?
I hope you will have some comments on these points.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I was coming out of the collectorate and as I reached the small side gate, I noticed an old, famished couple sitting in the shadow of a huge rock and doing something. When I reached nearer, I saw the man making three small packets. I became curious. I stopped and asked the man what he was doing. He said he was sorting out different denominations of coins in different packets.

I looked at him. He was quite old. I looked at the woman. She looked very, very old. I asked the man about their ages. He said he was 66 and his wife was 55. She looked at least 80 years old to me. Soon we started talking. His name was Thomas and his wife was Mary. He said he was from a place called Panruti in Tamilnadu. He came to Kerala to beg. He and his wife will beg for about 20 days and when they make about Rs. 1000 they will go back to their small dwelling in Panruti. Once a week the Church Priest will give him Rs.20 and the village elder will also give little money. They will stay in their house till the money is over and then they will go to some other place to beg.

When Thomas and Mary were young, they worked in the paddy fields. They were stout and strong and earned good money. They were a very happy couple. Now they are old, worn out with hard labor and sick. They cannot do any strenuous work. They have two children—one boy and a girl. Both the children are married and they have two children each. They are earning very little and therefore, they cannot support the old parents. So Thomas and Mary are going from place to place to beg and support themselves. Many people chase them away and begging to earn a livelihood is quite tough. Sun or rain, they have to move themselves despite their poor health.

I gave them a crisp Rs. 20 note. Their eyes widened with delight. Thomas said he and his wife were very hungry and they will go and eat something immediately with the money. They blessed me several times.

As Thomas and Mary walked out of my sight, several thoughts popped up in my mind. I will list down those thoughts in my next post.

In the meanwhile I would like to know your observations.