Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wild'less' Wildlife experience in Masinagudi


A herd of Cheetals (Axis axis) oblivious of the human (homosapien) presence 

Visiting a wildlife sanctuary had been always on my to-do list due to my immense fascination for jungles and wild animals. But my visit to Mudumalai National Park, Masinagudi last month was a disappointment. I had expected that I would be out in the wild and will get a chance to catch a glimpse of tigers, elephants, leopards, bears and what not. Sadly, all I could see were homosapiens. The primary habitat of these ‘creatures’ is cities where they are found in abundance. But these creatures were seen all over the forest reserve. They had come in huge numbers along with their fellow beings. As I was myself coming from a big city, I was sick of their sight. Determined, I decided to go on a wildlife safari. I was expecting to meet new friends from the wild there but I found none. All I could see were these homosapiens who were moving in their fuel guzzling and noise making vehicles.

Waiting to catch a glimpse of some feathered friends
I went to a homosapien who addressed himself as a forest guide and asked about the absence of ‘wild’ animals in the forest area. He replied that the alarming presence of homosapiens had scared away the ‘wild’ animals which made them go deep into the forest. I became disappointed again. In short, my highly anticipated trip was nothing but a ‘sit back and relax’ resort stay with homosapiens. While returning back I saw a board which prohibited homosapiens from wandering in the forest area as it may be ‘dangerous’. I laughed at it and recalled a signboard which I had seen in a zoo few months back. The signboard simply stated that it is us, the homosapiens who are the world’s most dangerous creatures. 
   

By T K Sreeraj/ Raintree Media Features



Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Nokia's Asha was to empower young women.

The first telecom MNC to set up a full-fledged handset manufacturing facility in India, global communications leader Nokia had been connecting people to progress. By empowering women factory workers and creating community improvement initiatives, it had engineered economic transformation in Sriperumbudur.


Sriperumbudur’s economic landscape had undergone a complete transformation with the setting up of the Nokia Telecom SEZ in January 2006. While its recent decision to stop production of the poignantly named ASHA (hope in Sanskrit) and to shut down the plant itself soon, we recall the hopes of the young women who at one point, composed 70 percent of its workforce.

Our story in the BEST OF CHENNAI had chronicled the heydays when Nokia seemed to be a direct catalyst for economic growth in the region.

Ed: Nokia sold its devices and services business to Microsoft, but it could not include the Chennai plant in the $7.5 billion deal as the Indian government has demanded taxes on software downloaded on handsets manufactured at the unit since 2006.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The hills are alive…with the crackle of plastic

The Queen of misty mountains, Kodaikanal, might soon vie for the title of Queen of garbage hills. The lovely green slopes of the Palani Hills are paying the toll for the popularity of the hilltop getaway, and how.

Tourists throng waterfalls (or stalls)
in scenic Kodaikanal.
Tourists leave a growing trail of litter – water bottles, empty packets of chips, biscuits and every thing they can possibly want to dispose off through the windows of buses and cars.

Plastic is banned in markets and around the popular lake, shopkeepers keep a stock of paper bags made from recycled newspapers. But fruit vendors are prone to slip in a banned plastic cover to keep the fruit from getting squashed. Other hawkers dish out food and drink on plastic or paper plates and cups, all of which fall all around and everywhere but in the trash cans, which are very often seen looking forlorn even as the pile of rubbish around them grow.

What is it with the tourists’ seemingly insatiable urge to munch? Go up Coaker’s Walk and you see them, with their backs firmly turned on the tendrils of mist that cloak the mountains, the far off views of distant peaks and the verdure along the edge. No, what interests the hordes that have spent sums of money and time to travel nearly 7000 ft above sea level, is the row of footpath vendors. From henna tattoos to woollen clothing and of course various eatables, the tourists can’t keep away from the hawkers. Scenic walkway? No, thanks.
Ditto on the route to any of the waterfalls. After the idiotic race to the spot, all they seem to do is to rush to the nearest vendor, eating ceaselessly, bargain vociferously and leave the place in a horrific condition.
None question them; a few valiant signs adjure people to Keep Kodai Clean, and most often these are hidden and obviously unheeded.
- Sandhya Mendonca