Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Prayer for you

I said a prayer for you today...

I know God must have heard

I could feel the answer in my heart,

Even though he didn’t speak any word...

I didn’t ask for wealth or fame,

I know it will not last...

What I asked Him was to send,

Treasures of a far more lasting kind...

I asked that he’d be with you always,

to grant you Health and Blessings...

I asked Him to show you the Right path always...

I asked Him for good friends to share your way...

I asked Him to help you to spread Peace and Happiness...

I asked Him to protect you from all Evils...

I asked for Happiness for you in,

all the Great and Small things you do...

I asked Him to keep you Safe,

also your Dear ones...

But, it was for His Love and Care

I prayed for you most of all...

Journey to the valley of silence

It was a trip planned at very short notice (as always) when we decided to go to silent valley. Though the name “Silent Valley” was quite familiar to me, courtesy media hype regarding the proposed controversial hydro electric project, all my efforts to visit the place in the past went in vain due to some reason or the other. It took a call from my cousin, asking me about my plans for the weekend, to arouse my silent valley spirits again and I told him to be ready for a trip next day to the valley and even poked two of my uncles for the trip. We could arrange a reservation at the Forest Inspection Bungalow (IB) at Mukkali as we got relevant information from the internet.
After lunch from my home at Cochin, we four (my two uncles, cousin and I) set off to Silent Valley. Along the much improved NH43 (than when I traveled last) we reached Palakkad by 4 PM and after refreshments continued our journey through NH 213 to Mannarkkad. From Mannarkkad Junction we took the road towards right leading to Mukkali. We reached Mukkali at 6 PM, checked into our room reserved in the Mukkali Forest IB. It was quite
surprising to meet a large group from ISAC, Astro Physics Group with their family at IB who were taking rest after a visit to the core area of the forest for the day. All of us had a quite refreshing bath in the river Bhavani flowing near
the IB and had dinner from the local tea shop. The night at Mukkali IB was filled with music of the river flowing near the bungalow and occasional songs of birds and cicada!!
Next day morning we were ready to explore the core forest area of Silent Valley. Our ISAC friends had chosen a soft trek in the buffer area of the forest for the day. Since we couldn’t afford to miss the core area of renowned valley we preferred to hire a jeep and proceeded to the forest by 8.00 a.m. Our tour guide Nasser was quite talkative and kept pouring information about the valley and its history.The “Silent Valley” was referred so by the British,appropriate to the absence of cicada in the forest during early years when they explored the valley. The rain forest of the valley said to be dated back to 50 million years and is home for large number of endangered species including the Lion tailed Macaque and Nilgiri Tahr. The valley got the media attention when Pathrakadavu hydro electric project was sanctioned in the core area of the valley exploiting the water resources from Kunthi river. The project raised protests from the naturalists who finally succeeded forcing the government to set aside the project and declare the area as national park.
The 45 minutes long jeep journey from IB ended near the watch tower at the proposed dam site of the Pathrakadavu project. The watch tower offered a breath taking view of the Kunthi river also called the Sairandri. River at the proposed dam site is accessible by walk along a 2km long muddy path. An antique hanging bridge was in view at the dam site though entry to the bridge was prohibited. The river was muddy and a little wild since it was raining heavily for last 2 days.
After spending some time near river side wecame back to the watch tower. The museum operated by the forest department, provided essential information about the flora and fauna of valley and also about the geography of the
national park. By 2 p.m. we returned back to the IB with watchful eyes on the forest, eager to spot wild life. We were lucky enough to spot a troop of lion tailed macaques, monkeys, wild squirrels and birds.
With ever green memories and a handful of wonderful snaps in my camera, we bid adieu to the valley by 3pm after a late lunch from a local hotel with hope of revisiting the valley.
Rooms can be reserved at the Forest Inspection Bungalow of the Silent Valley by contacting the Wild life warden, Silent valley division in the address given below. A fax to the office of Wild life warden and a few phone calls for confirming the availability of the rooms to the Assistant wild life warden will be sufficient. Forest department also arranges a number of soft and hard core treks through the forests for those who are interested in walking through the forest.
The tribal colony of Attapady is nearby and those interested can have a visit to the colonies too. A number of private resorts also are functioning in the area for those who prefer it over the local shops and minimal stay at IB

Assistant Wildlife Warden,
Silent Valley National Park Range
Mukkali, Palakkad, Kerala, India
PIN: 678582
Tel: 04924 - 253225

Wildlife Warden,
Silent Valley Division
Mannarkkad, Palakkad, Kerala,
PIN: 678582
Tel: 04924 - 222056

Common wealth games … Glory or Shame?

This October, India is poised to hold the biggest sporting extravaganza so far to be held in the country. This 19th Common wealth game involving about 70 countries with 6000 sportspersons is arguably the third largest sports meet after Olympics and World cup football. It is the first time that the games are coming to India and second time in Asia (after 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Though critics may claim that our country have more grave issues to attend than games, one must not forget that this is an ideal opportunity for us to show case the modern and developed India.
More often than not, the games have always been in the news for bad reasons, especially during last month or so. Financial irregularities have been the point of contention along with acute tardiness in the preparation of venues for
the games. Unfortunately our media, especially the visual style, is celebrating the issues and thus giving it a much
wider publicity than required.
Outside India nobody is bothered if it’s the Kalmadis’ or someone else. Rather the
whole world is eagerly watching whether India can pull this off. To give an idea about how the media reports are received abroad, according to my friend residing in Australia, public there are passing judgments that Indians
aren’t capable of holding games of this stature and are more interested in making money than games itself.
It’s vital that corruption of any form should be brought to the public. But too much hype about it, that too at this crucial juncture with only days to go for the games, is uncalled for. The people who are alleged to be corrupt, if found guilty, should be dealt seriously. But this could wait till the games are over. Instead our focus should be more on how best we can help our nation to gear up for the games. Main concern should be that most of the stadiums are still under construction. It’s high time that all of us in our own way do a bit and get the nation ready for the games. Here the media has a huge role to play; rather than playing out the corruption issue again and again it should shift the focus on the issues of under preparation – be it about venues, games village, roads, hospitals or anything related. This will keep the authorities as well as public informed about the pending issues. It may even inspire some of us to come forward and contribute in some way.
The problem of under preparedness was raised even back in 2009. If adequate actions were taken at that time things wouldn’t have been in such bad shape. Now that government have taken steps to tackle this issue by appointing 10 officers of the rank of Joint and Additional Secretaries to oversee the progress, hopefully, we will be ready in time for the event. Each of these officers is allocated a stadium and given the responsibility to ensure that the work completes in time for the games.
It’s already late, but better late than never. Let’s hope coming October 3 to 14, the world will witness the best ever commonwealth games till date and India rise in glory on the world stage.