Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Leemon Ravi: Memories of a Money order

Leemon Ravi: Memories of a Money order

Memories of a Money order




Indian financial segment is going through an array of paradigm shifts from the traditional procedures and nuances of wealth management and money transfer techniques. But there was a time when the people were totally dependent on money orders for sending and receiving of money to far away places, fulfilling the requirements of their dear ones. There were no quick money transfer methods available at that time with post offices in  rural areas flooded with people for initiating money transfers. Indian postal department has done a commendable job by serving the rural and urban crowd at relatively lesser cost with out much financial discrepancies but with minimum administration errors. These errors were very much acceptable, since the present  financial houses are  sitting on a heap of client agonies and scams.


I am thankful to our Indian Postal service, especially the money order system because of its importance during my graduation days. I have studied Mechanical engineering in LBS COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING. My college  is on a hummock with a steep gradient, measuring a distance of 1-2 km, to reach the destination from bus stand. Even though the climb was horrible, it was exciting for me because of congenial company of friends, poking fun at one another. Every one of us had an opinion about everything under the sky, irrespective of the knowledge on the same. There was a bank inside the college, but of no utility to me, because me or my mother was not having any bank account at that time. She was wholly reliant on Indian postal service.


The  post office in our area was at least 5 K Ms. from the college with an expiration time of 5 PM every day. I used to stay far flung from college and not in the hostel to save money.
The postman was an old person in his fifties. His face was pleasant but dark, showcasing that he was working like a Trojan in his life. He wore a uniform, which lost its shimmer and started showing a different type of colour due to excess usage. He was unshaved with not so smooth walking action, due to some ailment on his legs. The money order arrived at the end of every month, with my eyes pinned outside my lecture room craving for the sight of postman. Month end was a period of sufferings and adjustments. The post man was never late or absent from work and my money order was never delayed. He used to give me money in multiples of  Rs.10 for the amount I received, which was a blessing for me, since it was difficult to get change from outside. I initially thought that, he was helping me out, but my friends told me that he is anticipating something and you have to pay some amount out of your money order amount. They told me to keep him happy, otherwise I have to travel all the way to the post office to collect money order. Moreover climbing the hillock was not an easy task, that too, by walk. He delivered the money order right to my class room. I was not happy, but paid him every time and always cursed him in my mind. The money send was too less to full fill my requirements and I was paying a part of that to this person also. Whenever I gave his incentive, he smiled at me, but I never smiled. His black colour small bag, which was torn in many places, was always wet because of his perspiration. There was some strange smell coming out of his bag every time and it appeared to be a Pandora box with so many items concealed inside.

One day, I was in the library drafting my project report and failed to hit the class. I  completely forgot  about the money order because of the project work. I remembered with a chill that, I had missed the money order and  there was no way but to go to the post office. I was not even owned the bus fare to reach there. I ran towards the lecture hall from the library in dejection, but for my surprise the post man was standing with a smile, at the entrance of the library. I felt relieved and liked his grin for the first time in my life. He told me that he ferreted around for me in the lecture hall and I was unavailable. He said " I thought you will be in dire need of this money and enquired about you with your friends. They told me that you are in the library. You have to be careful next time". I gave him some extra amount, above the usual incentive. But he took only the usual amount. I was surprised and felt bad for cursing him all these times. I smiled at him for the first time and thanked him.



Four years drifted by and, I was in the last month of my course. I got a call to our college phone from the same postman. He said"You have to collect the money order directly from the post office this time. The new postman refused to deliver to the college".He told me that he took Voluntary retirement and leaving this place forever. He also said " I felt  like informing you because,you may be in trouble with out money". I thanked him and hung the phone. I went to post office for the first time in my life. I have collected the money order from the office and  pulled out the incentive to give it to the officer because of my earlier practice. He refused this by saying that  this wont be necessary and be restrained from any act like this in the future. He gave me a lecture, about the negative impact of bribery. I asked him " Where is that old postman ?". He quipped "He took VRS and left. His last working day was yesterday. He came today in the morning and made couple of calls and left". I came to know that he had a daughter and he slogged very hard for her marriage all through his life. His daughter's marriage occurred one month before. The postman salary was not great  those times. I understood the reason behind his torn bag, rugged face and discoloured uniform. He climbed that hillock with his leg ailment for a cause. I felt very bad for the first time and tried to get his phone number, but in vein.


Morality and situations wont go hand in hand. Life situations force human beings to do so many acts which our morality wont permit. The postman was not having any other option apart from his salary, which may not have allowed him to full fill his daughter's marriage requirements. He might be a tender hearted person, but situation forced him to do so. Life will put all of us in stranger situations, where the principles go in shambles and the morality suffers. We have to really weigh all our options before surrendering morality. The postman weighed his options and chose to surrender morality, so that his daughter can live happily, obviously with morality. So judge a person based on his situations, before declaring him as an 'out cast'.

I am feeling good now, since part of my money has been contributed for a good cause, even during my miseries. This incident has upheld my respect towards one more person, my mother. She never surrendered her morality, but confronted all life situations choosing her available options, only for one cause, that is me. This allowed me to live a moral life, weighing my available options against the life situations. My mother gave me the foundation, for a moral life, in the same way as the postman paved the way for his daughter.
Who knows, with out her, I should have relinquished my morality for situations long ago?????


Hoping for a Moral life
LEEMON RAVI


Monday, 2 November 2015

Am I a patriot???




Am I a patriot? Are you a patriot?
Dissipate the evils of my country,
Fire in the belly, but yet doltish
Brain with vision, but yet bleary
Time has come for uphill battle
Time has come for young patriots to rise!!!


O God, you are faceless but many
Studded with inhumane religious ghosts
Sweat and blood overflowing for you,
Enlightened prodigies, made a nation to weep
Time has come to thwack, not to extol
Time has come for young human beings to rise!!!

Patriot's blood molded my country, not politicians
But my nation boasts of religious and political patriots
Shredding, tearing and squeezing for power and money
Imposing martial laws deep into the young minds,
Time has come to  impose patriotic laws to young minds,
Time has come for young moral beings to rise!!!

Biases, biases and biases, current slogan in diversified crowd,
Money, Money and money, chosen over education in a knowledge pool,
Perjury, perjury and perjury, the way of media, law and profession,
Like a wolf leading the pack,
Time has come to introduce unflinching  lions,
Time has come for young perspicacious leaders to rise!!!

Citizens falter casting the right, Ah! A pity,
But they upheld their caste while casting, moment of glory,
But they failed the country, moment of truth
Humongous crowd with all alphabet outfits,
Time has come to stand united for our rights,
Time has come for young citizens to rise!!!!

Am I a patriot? Are you a patriot?
Dissipate the evils of my country,
Fire in the belly,but yet doltish
Brain with vision, but yet bleary
Time has come for uphill battle
Time has come for young patriots to rise!!!


With Patriotism,
LEEMON RAVI








Saturday, 12 September 2015

Plight of Indian farmers and need for a SPECIAL AGRICULTURAL ZONE(SAZ)



Agriculture is the back bone of India, since it constitutes a major contribution towards GDP. As Gandhi said " The soul of India is in the villages ", we can say that " The soul of agriculture is in our fertile lands ". Its good to hear about advanced agricultural techniques, awareness programmes, subsidized loans for farmers etc. This segment is still in doldrums even though we have an experienced manpower, diversified topography, huge land mass and sops from government. We have witnessed many incidents on farmer suicides and climatic catastrophes. Nowadays political parties are using these issues as a ladder for their electoral benefits and political benefits. We have umpteen committees, advisory boards, NGOs and banks to nullify the core agricultural issues, but all in vein because of an absence of intent towards the same from various outfits.Lets don't politicize the issue or act like a catalyst to flame up the core issue in this forum. We should find out a permanent solution for the same and execute  plans effectively, with out which our food deficit and infertile land masses can pose serious threats in the near future.

SPECIAL AGRICULTURAL ZONES (SAZ)

I am not the first person to raise the need of SAZ. Many eminent personalities including M.S Swaminathan (Agricultural scientist) has already demanded for SAZ to government through different sources and the effort is going on from 2006 onward. There are no developments or initiatives from the government for implementation of SAZ till now. SAZ is a zone which will be marked only for agricultural purpose like Special Economic Zone(SEZ) for industrial units.

IMPORTANCE OF SAZ

Preservation of agricultural land
As I told you earlier " The soul of agriculture is in our fertile lands ", fertile land is the gift of nature which can't be reproduced. Urbanization may be a stepping stone towards development, but not at the cost of our invaluable agricultural land. Fertile land is not mandatory for the creation of Hi tech cities and residential townships. The development of a rural area to an urban outfit is done by the administration based on many parameters, but Fertile land is not the part of any of these parameters for unknown reasons. Fertile land is decided by the contents in the soil and there will be a difference in the composition based on the topography. No body can create an infertile soil equivalent to natural best, but can replicate some features by the excessive use of artificial techniques which can harm the person consuming the produce. So many people succeeded in replicating the agricultural yield in terrace gardens and kitchen gardens. These arrangements can't be a replacement for agricultural lands  but only a mere arrangement which can't reduce the need of an entire country in the coming future. Preservation of agricultural land can act as a catalyst to maintain a perfect natural balance and think about a nation which can boast of vast agricultural land masses, which in turn can even think of catering the rest of the world also, along with our GDP and citizens.

Employment and empowerment of farmer community



India is blessed with a larger agricultural work force which is experienced and evolved over years. They are equipped with an abundant knowledge transferred from ancient times, in traditional farming techniques in all type of topographic areas. But they are forced to sell their land to land grabbers, so that they can give a normal life to their family. Farmers are slowly alienated and government aids garner zero benefits in the absence of a proper system. Genetic experiments and renowned agricultural methods are not required to increase the yield, but precious agricultural knowledge of our traditional farmers clubbed  with their will can create wonders. Establishment of a proper system in this segment is the need of the hour rather than advancement. Government can create employment to our traditional farmers by way of SAZ, thereby empowering farmer community. SAZ will instill confidence on traditional farming techniques at a low cost. Government bodies can work more closer with farmers and understand their problems. The benefits of SAZ is more rewarding than creating software platforms for agricultural awareness of a farmer, who is already struggling to make one toilet in his house because of financial crisis.
SAZ will create self sustainable farmer communities across the countries with lakhs of employment opportunities created.

Diversification of Agricultural process

Agriculture is not a simple process as many say. There are so many processes and brainstorming along with experience is required to get an yield. Once the yield is produced the same has to go through logistics and ware housing before reaching the end users. Diversification of the agriculture process can be done effectively, if all the process happen in the same place. SAZ will facilitate the execution of these diversified processes in a systematic manner at a lower cost. Preparation of the soil, sowing seeds, harvesting, logistics, warehousing and packaging can be done in a shorter span of time compared to the existing obsolete and time consuming processes. Many of the foreign investors and technologies can be attracted in an easier way by showcasing SAZ. Moreover the diversification increases the revenue and profit of farmers and country rather than increasing the burden.

Ground water level,flora and fauna



Ground water level is an important aspect of an ecology. Ground water is formed after centuries of natural process and it add on to 20% of world's fresh water supply. This has to be preserved and rejuvenated from depletion. Depleted ground water regions will become deserts and the soil will become infertile. Ground water preservation methods like effective canal systems and rain water harvesting systems allow us to protect this source for the consumption of people. Even if the government has made Rain water harvesting mandatory in cities, developers are less equipped and least known about the advanced rain water harvesting methods. The regulations and mandates can be changed with the help of bureaucrats and politicians as per the comfort of a developer, which will deter the actual purpose. We are going through an era where there is a scarcity of rain and constant climatic changes. Destruction of river beds are also a major concern. Government has created Development authorities for lakes but the office bearers are busy developing their personal properties. SAZ can eliminate this by driving out cities from fertile zones to infertile zones.

Flora and fauna is very essential for ecological balance. God has created human beings as a part  in an ecosystem, and not as a controller. If we are not living as a part of the nature, in coming future the nature will wipe out this race from earth. We have seen deforestation in the name of agriculture. But we should know that there are type of crops which will grow along with the forest with out destroying the same. SAZ can effectively implement agriculture suited to forest areas with out destroying the Flora and fauna. Tribal community in that particular area can be utilized to develop effective farming techniques suitable for forest lands.

Effective warehousing and logistics

Agricultural products are perishable goods. Our country is facing serious warehousing issues with lakhs of tones of food products rotten to drain. We should think that our country has a major number of BPL families. Death by starvation  are on a very higher side. An effective ware housing will address the issue. Logistics has always been a problem for agricultural products. Absence of better preservation techniques of food products during logistics and warehousing is a big concern to government agencies. There are private organisations who have implemented better preservation techniques like cut vegetable preservation, food grains preservation along with better packaging to end users. SAZ will open up a way to pull in these private players because of the quantity of yield, which will improve the efficiency of our existing logistics and warehousing methods. This will help government to think beyond ration shop systems to reach the BPL families with quality food products. The role of middlemen can be eliminated completely.

Elimination of land grabbing

Real estate land grabbing is a nemesis nowadays. The land grabbers or their associates never think about the loss of fertile land or ecological problems ,since they are concentrated towards money making. The flaws in our existing land rules and complications in judicial systems add on to the miseries. I have seen many articles about the need of  a powerful law for stopping this crime. But the delay in drafting, fight between the political outfits and constitutional logger heads failed to decelerate land grabbing activities. I am not saying that SAZ will reduce this crime, but at least this will stop the poaching of fertile land. Constitution and our lawmakers has to have the real guts to clean this mess.

R&D
Acquisition of fertile land for R&D has always
costed the farmer. Indian R&D techniques will open up an array of opportunities, once the scientists and the experiments are exposed to a huge agricultural land mass. SAZ will enable the right application of lab techniques and a higher sample size compared to the present scenario. Scientists are constantly under pressure to develop agricultural technologies which will produce maximum yield on a minimal land mass. These type of methods will lead to heavy use of chemical pesticides, food products with less carbohydrate and protein content and lesser life of a fertile land. SAZ will encourage experiments which will improve the traditional methods. Government will be in a position to produce nutritional food products with the help of organic manure. Chemical companies will be forced to concentrate on producing organic pesticides. Our scientists can develop advanced agricultural methods in India itself, instead of visiting European countries. Our country is blessed with scientists of high intellectual acumen, capable of creating agricultural heavens at a very minimal cost. Government can create a perfect environment and platform for our brilliant scientists through SAZ.


Implementation of Schemes and benefits

Government is declaring many schemes and benefits for the farmers every year. But none of these reach the farmers because of corrupt officials and ministers. If the Schemes and benefits has to reach a farmer, it should be direct, but the same is not happening because of the complex segmentation of our bureaucratic system. The Schemes prepared by our administration and decision makers are undoubtedly flawless, but the system of fund flow is like a leaking funnel. The system uses different leaking funnels in different levels of fund flow. The end use will only get an inadequate amount which will reach him after so many delays and processes. A benefit becomes a curse, if it wont be given on the right time. SAZ allows Government to channel the benefits in a simpler way to the needy on time. Families with traditional farming back grounds can be used for SAZ by allotting land to them inside SAZ. This will  create more revenue to the farmers and encourages their coming generations to take up agriculture as a profession. SAZ can undoubtedly increase the labor force in agricultural segment and can act as a catalyst in reducing our food deficit.





There are many other advantages of SAZ. We  need an action from Government to implement SAZ in a transparent and simple way. It shouldn't go to drain like many other ambitious projects started earlier. This is all about existence of human race and eradication of death by starvation. Human race cant sustain with out food. Lets start living along with nature, not by controlling nature.


With Hope
LEEMON RAVI






Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Romantic encounters



Your eyes blanket me from tears of the world,
Your lips blanket me from loneliness,
But your absence took away my blankets, exposed me to all miseries,
Loneliness bolster the feel but untold and uncanny.

She looked at me like a Cherub, clearing my murky and inclement mind,
Prospered, ushered, outwitted my senses,
Mist and dewdrops reminded her presence,
She came cladded in a whitish top with a black skirt and
a long, soft and flamboyant hair,
Her face blemished by the yellow rays of sun mixed with
mist, but clear with water, 
I stood spell bound  and perplexed like a new born baby
introduced to the world from womb, 
College, changed as a perfect place for romantic artistry.

I never seen colours but unimaginable satisfaction and happiness, though short lived
Her smile welted me like soft waves tickle the body,
Lectures and time  gone past in a jiffy, but mind entrapped her face,
She invaded my soul like a creeper barging in to a tree, tight but adorable,
But the feel was divine and eternal,
Your Charm, fluttering hair in gentle breeze, gestures, shielded me, the ruthlessness of time.
My encounter with poverty and hunger  transformed in to painful, but soothing romantic encounters,
Fate pierced my will, but I clung to my will only for her,
Your mere touch or presence transformed my hell to heaven.

You vanished from me like, mist in the dismay of sunlight, 
Temperature soared to new peaks, but not to the freezing best for mist to emerge,
Kept my mind frozen to see the mist, thereby You,
Mind is frozen, body is dilapidated with a dysfunctional brain, but your image is still clear.

Encounters kill the life, but romantic encounters squeeze and twist the soul,
But life should go on, So be tough, Memories instill strength and will,
Romantic encounters happen every day but success is mine,
Because her smile blankets my miseries,
She may be in the same state, but my smile blankets her miseries!!!! 

Your eyes blanket me from tears of the world. Your lips blanket me from loneliness.
But your absence took away my blankets, exposed me to all miseries,
Loneliness bolster the feel, but untold and uncanny,
But romantic encounters kept our memories and love ebullient!!!


Dedicated to college expurgated romances......

LEEMON RAVI




Sunday, 28 June 2015

'Dalit' sir and his big 'small'world




You will be wondering about my mental stability for calling somebody a 'Dalit' sir at the time of technological brilliance and advancement. Back on1955 people of a particular village in Kerala used to call a teacher the same name as a part of religion made barriers and caste biases, which was the practice across India. This real life story has actually written by my father(Thamarakulam Ravi) during his college days and won the 'Best short story' award on 1973, now recreated by me. I tried my level best not to make the story banal. My father hails from a small picturesque scenic village called Thamarakulam in Kerala which I was referring to.

1955, A time where India as a country was hovering with poverty, religious biases, economical catastrophe and intellectual depletion, but patriotism at its very best. Our country and people has shown exceptional courage and grit to come out of all post independence effects but not from the caste bane. Thamarakulam was the perfect example of a village with scenic locations,greenery,water falls and innocent people who were religious. The nearest city was Kollam and it was considered as the main business center buzzing with activities.

Origin of the name 'Dalit' Sir



Dalit sir was a primary school teacher in this village with an exceptional acumen and superior intelligent quotient. He belonged to a Dalit caste called 'Parayans' as widely known in Kerala. All the lower caste people  in Kerala had gone through all type of mental and psychological trauma from the higher caste. Dalits were primarily used for all type of labor work of high caste people and they were not even allowed to visit temples. They were the condemned class and there was no respect shown. There was a time where they were not allowed to come face to face with a high cast fellow. Such was our caste partitions which divided our society thereby, exposed people to 'religion active' toxic waste. My Dad was a pupil in the same primary school. Dalit sir toiled  through out his entire childhood financially. But his parents supported him to get higher education since he was very good at studies. He was the first person in his entire caste to clear Class X with distinction in spite of all types of hurdles created by society, caste and poverty. He had shown tremendous will power to weed out all the problems and completed his degree from City college. He decided to work for the upliftment of Dalits and wanted to pull them out of their miseries, through education. He joined as a primary school teacher even though he had better career opportunities.


The villagers started calling him Dalit sir because of the rarity of the incident of a lower caste person becoming a teacher. He never objected for the same. He taught many students and imparted them with knowledge. His way of teaching was different, earning the respect of entire village. The pupils also started calling him the same name and after some years, he became an important and respectable person in the village but with the name 'Dalit Sir'!!! Is it irony or respect? Let the villagers decide!!! Dalit sir himself forgotten his actual name in due course of time!!!

Birthday and Social activities

Dalit sir was a tall person but thin, looked flimsy but energetic. He was bald with a square type eye gear, with an affinity to wear white color dresses. Many of the people who belonged to higher caste were not able to digest the fact that a dalit was teaching their kids. But Dalit sir slowly earned respect of all class of people over a period of time with his comprehension, brilliant expounding and warm-heartedness. He celebrated all his birthdays along with underprivileged dalit kids. He brought them chocolates wrapped in flashy colored papers. These types of chocolates were considered rare and precious those days with kids flocked to get a taste of the same. He used to go to Kollam to purchase these, only to see joy and happiness in the eyes of these innocent kids. He was the center figure for all type of social activities. Apart from social and upliftment activities he found time to study new teaching techniques and etiquette.
Dalit sir used to wear a white colour dhoti which covered, his short pant like under garment, where he used to keep his wallet thereby ensuring the safety of his money.

Brahmin hotel incident




Dalit sir was always happy with his life and there was no regrets for him with lifestyle or situation. He had only one ultimate wish to be fulfilled. There was a Brahmin hotel situated at Kollam. The hotel was famous for its vegetarian dishes and the ambiance. He had seen the hotel during his visit to Kollam. The surprising factor for him was the Brahmin management of the hotel, who were  not reluctant to cater delicacies to people irrespective of religion, with all types of people eating under the same roof. This was very appealing to him because of the caste biases in his village. He always thrived to have a Masala dosa from the hotel but couldn't able to fulfill this wish because of  the shortage of time and  distance from his village.

He finally retired from the school after a remarkable period of teaching excellence and social activities. He received a healthy sum of money after his retirement. He finally decided to visit Brahmin hotel to fulfill his wish on a Friday. There was a flux  of excitement and joy in his heart. The only way of transport to Kollam was steam locomotive (Train)which ran on Coal. He got up early in the morning and was ready for the journey in a flash of time and worn his favorite white shirt and  dhoti. This steam train was famous for contorting the most handsome guys and beautiful girls with its vicious black smoke bellowing out of its mouth. People looked in black irrespective of their color at the end of the journey, which temporarily removed the caste biases!!

The black smoke successfully created shades in the White dress of Dalit sir along with a superb black hair which was actually, partly white. Dalit sir used his small hair comb to comb the coal out of his hair with little success but continued his walk towards the Brahmin hotel. The sight of Brahmin hotel created a spiritual happiness in him. He ordered for Masala Dosa and Coffee. The Masala Dosa was served to him in a leafy plate along with curries made out of coconut. The taste was divine and the satisfaction was amazing. Dalit sir experienced delight which was euphoric and felt a completeness in his life. His face was lively and endured a reduction in age.

The waiter gave the bill and he stood up to take the money which was kept in the pocket of  his under garment. His hand had gone to the pocket but it has not stopped a bit instead gone deep towards his thighs. Dalit sir realized with a shock that his pocket had been cut out of his undergarment along with the wallet and his life time earnings by some one during his journey. His mind was unable to accept the fact that he was in distress. The hand inserted towards the pocket was reluctant to come out and it never came out. He had a deep breath and his heart suddenly stopped, failing the weak and thin body, with his hand in the pocket. The soul of that innocent human being went outside the body with an unparalleled  agony and despair, who fought through difficult muddles, but couldn't able to complete a simple wish. I am still wondering about the caste of the person pick pocketed Dalit sir!!

We can find people like Dalit sir among us, who struggle in their life to come up from caste biases. Our society was not able to accept Dalit sir with his actual name even though his intelligence level was exceptional. Brahmin hotels showcase the possibility of religious harmony, if the society insists and highlights the importance of a  'one religion' society called 'humans' for betterment of economical status. His story clearly underlines the fact that even though you are educated the caste and religion biases will create the necessary void between the people to a considerable amount.

The emotional duality is that small happiness always drives you rather than big achievements. Though you are successful person, you feel on top of the world, once you are able to accomplish your small desires effectively. It can really bring happiness to our big 'small' world.

Please note that I am not downplaying or projecting any caste or thoughts through my blog but simply trying to convey a message to all of you that "Caste, religion and money shouldn't be the yardsticks to codify an individual, but humanity and compassion is"

Thank you Dad for narrating this short story and your thought process back in 1973 through Dalit Sir!!!!


LEEMON RAVI









Sunday, 14 June 2015

Childhood sweet 'blemishes' and "Me"(Part 1)

Childhood-Golden era of every ones life ,which comes to us with out our knowledge and sway away from us with out our permission. The stage of life which gifts us sweet blemishes with out inviting the ire of society and will remain as the monument of happiness loaded with memories. I think childhood is unique for an individual which will be treasured  till their last breath. Curbing and suppressing any child's childhood with, never ending modern era demands can be the biggest crime a parent can induce to an innocent kid.
I am sharing my experiences during my child hood days with all of you and I am sure that you will also have many unique  things to share about your childhood which can be shared in this platform. My parents are teachers with an impeccable academic record and they allowed me to take decisions myself from the very earlier stage thereby generating lot of self confidence in me. My mom, was my real motivator who acted as a cliff against all my problems and showed me the way to pave road through difficulties. On other hand, Dad worked relentlessly against social discrimination and religious biases thereby dedicated a monster sum of time for society and minuscule time with us. But Mom stood like a rock for the family and contributed to my growth almost single-handedly. We were going through a rough patch during my child hood days financially, but I am still surprised about my Mom's management skills to get me good education and life. She never lived for herself but only for me and my happiness. She has come for all my school functions and meetings and used to wear a low quality scandal (Paragon rubber scandals) for years together but never delayed my fees!! Ornaments and new clothes were allergic to my mom, but always bought me new clothes and footwear.


Dad's VIJAY SUPER Scooter

Dad owned a 1982 model VIJAY SUPER Scooter at that time which was the BMW of our family. The front view of the scooter reminded me of a demon with  a tongue projected out of his mouth. This scooter was actually a demon with a starting problem and many issues unknown to the company itself. We used to go for outing in this scooter whenever Dad was free. The maximum problem-free distance for this vehicle was 20 km and the remaining distance used to test our will Power and patience. Dad was our gladiator for successful outings and I still remember his winning smile after all the tiring and horrendous outings. Kerala road resembled a ploughed farm land during those days and the scooter's side flap used to flung to some distance whenever we hit a road gutter. There were no safety for bystanders, who were in the path of this demon. But this demon helped me to explore my state with so many places, were we stayed overnight because of scooter repair. But, Ah!!that was one nostalgic memory with this so called "VIJAY SUPER" scooter.

Mom and Ground nuts

Fried ground nuts are my favorite choice, anytime, anywhere!!The rupee value was more those days and it always affected middle class as usual. Mom has to travel at least 3 KMs from Pandalam Junction to my home and an auto rickshaw is a must, since there were no buses plying near to my home from there. She preferred to walk with sun squeezing out her energy in no time so that she can save the money for buying ground nuts for me. As soon as I was back from school, fried ground nuts were ready for my happiness, but  unware of the sacrifice of my mother. This was routine and ground nuts bring tears to my eyes now also ,but reminds of mother's unconditional love..


CAT POLICE (Cop cat)story and my friends

I studied in NSS English medium school till 7th standard. Our lunch break was 1hr  during that time, me and my friends used to Chit chat. One day I have read the story of a cat, who was a cop in some kid's magazine. The story was short and showcased the ability of this cat to solve cases at real quick time. I started narrating the same story to my friends in which, Jyothi Karnavar and Prasanth were the main listeners along with others. The story was completed in the magazine and everyday I used to narrate different stories about this Cat police as per my whims and fancies. I got a considerable amount of listeners in a short period of time. I wanted to finish this Cop cat story because of scarcity of  stories. I told everyone that this Cop cat is dead during his investigation, to finish this story telling. But my friends were disappointed on his death and told me " Just think again, probably he is not dead ". The next day everyone assembled with me during lunch hour and I have told them that " The bullet from the shot gun of cow (He was the villain) hit Cop cat associate, a rat and not him. He survived and undergoing treatment in hospital. He will recover in one week's time ". I got relieved for one week by my friends,by that time I found out new story threads and continued with my story narration. During my school days, I killed this Cat many times, but on request of my friends he always came back to life, like James Bond to continue his adventurous spy journey. This story started at Class 2 and ended by Class 5 . My friend Prasanth was with us on during Class 2 ( shifted to a new school),but missed me till now only because of this story as per his testimonial recently, after 25 years!! The cow was the villain in almost all these stories because of her built and appearance like earlier villains in our movies. I laugh to the core whenever there is a face off with Cat and cow till now!!!

High school, Drama and Cricket


I finished my high school at St.Pauls H S,Nariyapuram and this time was blessed with so many friends and fun. Me and my friends planned for a drama act during our school anniversary. My friends were Mathews, Unniraja, Nihas pasha for the same but we were never prepared with a story, since all of us were busy playing cricket during drama practice hours. I was the director and Mathews, scriptwriter. I finally decided to use a story which narrates about a family. The family consists of a father and 3 children out of which 2 children were inclined towards cricket and Drama,whereas the younger one was mentally retarded. Every one in the family wanted the death of
younger one for larger chunk of family property. The father won a lottery and all the family members came together to get a share of the same. They served poison to father but accidentally consumed by the mentally retarded younger one leading to his death. Father's lottery story was false and his propaganda was to unite the family, which misfired. Mathews was the elder son (drama affinity),me the second( cricket affinity) and Nihas the mentally retarded younger one. Almost every dialogues were anticipated since we were under prepared. Nihas got the best actor award and the drama bagged second price for our surprise!! I have learned that if you enjoy as a team while working the results will be amazing!!!

The district level drama competition was screwed up royally and it was very funny. Our drama was about King Ashoka and Kalinga war. I will explain you the scene which turned as a disaster to us.The first scene displayed the wrath of King Ashoka on Kalinga. But after seeing the war destruction in Kalinga, he sat near a dead body and started crying thinking about his misdeeds. The next scene was the King's palace where he was supposed to express his anguish over the war. We waited for a long time with make up for our turn earlier and when our drama started, we were understandably tired. As I told you above, the King started crying near to the dead body and the scene ended. But because of tirelessness, the person who acted as dead body slept off in the floor unaware of the scene!!!! We were not having any idea about this!! Once the curtain was down the stage was dark and we arranged the palace for next scene, in darkness. There comes the twist!! As soon as the curtain raised the audience had seen the palace with the king on his throne and the earlier dead body still on the center with a white cloth covering from toe to head. The dead body got up suddenly because of the light and ran away along with the cloth covered in his body from the scene. The expressions on the faces of King Ashoka and his experts(including me) were epic!! It was followed with a laugh riot from the audience and the drama was doomed !!!



Cricket was our passion those days and used to be die hard fans of Sachin Tendulkar. There was a vacant farm land near to my home which we considered as our "Lord's cricket ground". Our cricket bat were made of coconut palm leaf. Rubber balls were extensively used with hardly 8 overs/team to play and more than 30 people to accommodate. Some times balls flied  in to near by houses, vegetable gardens, tapioca plantations etc damaging their windows, roof tiles and crops. Balls gone in to houses never came back. The balls gone to plantations had to be sneaked back and this was similar to an army operation!! Kudos to many of my friends who were instrumental to get the ball back risking their lives!!!! This sneak 'ball' operations had seen the death of many vegetables and plantations, with the ire of the owners extending to our families. Complaints from different people used to pile up by end of every day. These type of activities held me with my friends for a long time and our friend ship prospered to its depth.



I will share many of my other child hood blemishes with you in my next blog..


LEEMON RAVI

















Sunday, 31 May 2015

Traditional artisans in India and UTHHAN-Empowering artisans(Part 2)





I have already described in my earlier blog about the situation which pushed me to start UTHHAN-Empowering artisans for upgrading the existing artisan community.

UTHHAN is an initiative of GOLDEN ERA SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS AND CONSULTANCY PVT LTD along with GOLDEN ERA CONSUMER DURABLES PVT LTD, which are group companies of GOLDEN ERA ROYAL GROUP(GERG). The main reason for degradation of artisan community was the uneven distribution of profit by middlemen and distributors to the makers. UTHHAN is the first initiative in India, where the profit goes to the artisan,who creates the marvel. The rest of the profit is shared between the organisations who assist us to locate the underprivileged artisan families and GERG.

During the initial days, I have met so many political stalwarts, artisan organisations, artisan development board officials but, in vein, since there are no substantial kick bags involved in the project. UTHHAN will eliminate the role of middlemen and distributors and the products directly reaches the end users from artisans with out any hassles through our platform. I have faced ruthless questions from renowned artisan leaders and politicians about the transparency of the project and my personal benefits. Stalling is easier than starting for many of these. How can a common artisan fight this political apathy and government / bureaucratic nuances miseries out?.

I spend a reasonable sum of amount for this initiative with out which the concept can't be in lime light. During this period with the help of couple of good friends, I got a chance to exhibit myself about UTHHAN in an IAS officers club. My mind was overjoyed because of the very fact that some of these officers belong to the artisan community and the same concept can connect them better than any one.

I have given a presentation for 10 mins about UTHHAN and for my surprise one of the officer asked me like " Whether all these things can be done by you with honesty at this young age? I really doubt your skill set and capabilities ". I asked " What's your age sir? ". He quipped " 49 ". I asked him again " Can you tell me any initiative which you have propelled for the artisan community, whom you belongs to till now ? ". There was silence in the forum and he reacted to this, showcasing me as an arrogant youth with no respect towards elders. Truth is always bitter, but our younger generation should have the courage to question discriminations for a brighter tomorrow. He is in a better position than me to help his community which he has comfortably forgotten in the tide of time. Many of the celebrities in India, belong to this ever struggling artisan community. This is the irony.

I got an opportunity to give a speech about UTHHAN, where artisan leaders from across India had participated. It appeared to be a strong platform where, I can unite these people for a common cause. But the agenda and the parameters preferred by the leaders during the summit was disappointing and out dated. They wanted to pressurise Government for declaring Viswakarma Day as a national holiday and create a separate ministry for artisans.

 The meeting missed the following points
1) How can the artisan family survive ?
2) Why Government will obey you with out a proper organised structure ?
3) What's the benefit for poor artisan community by declaring Viswakarma day as a national holiday ?

In the summit, I stressed on these points rather than UTHHAN, since awareness was required for leaders rather than followers. I have been ignored by the leaders in the meet because of the bitter reality, I  exposed. But a section of the crowd interacted with me after the meet about UTHHAN and its implications.



PROCESS OF UTHHAN IN A GLANCE
1) Identifying the artisan family
2) Enrolment by filling up UTHHAN form
3) ID and address proof documents of the family
4) Generation of ARTISAN IDENTIFICATION NUMBER(AID,this is a unique code generated by
the system)
5) Artisan Product upload  and bank account opening of artisan
6) Order from customer
7) Packing and delivery from artisan locality to customer
8) Artisan share of profit directly to his UTHHAN bank accounts



UTHHAN concept was accepted with both hands by my father, Mr.Thamarakulam Ravi, who is running an organisation for traditional artisans across India, called Artisan Development Organisation, in which he holds the position of  NATIONAL PRESIDENT. The other people who stood with me were Ms.Soni Sahu (Creative head,UTHHAN and Director GERG), Mr.A K Mohana Krishnan (Central government counsel,High court of Karnataka), Mr.KCV Mane (Superintendent of police,Bangalore), Mrs.Roopamouli (State coordinator, UTHHAN, Karnataka)and my company employees. ADO has arranged many platforms for us across Kerala, to create an awareness about UTHHAN. We had started a toll free helpline number for artisans on 2012 which allows an artisan to directly contact us to discuss about his skill set and displaying his products on our platform.




UTHHAN will organise the artisans based on locality and ensure financial stability along with preservation of a culture. Artisans don't have to fight with government for their rights because of the self sustainability through UTHHAN. They will learn financial savings, compatibility and cohesiveness  because of the unity and strength. The younger artisan generation will not be reluctant to do artisan job any more because of job respect and healthy earnings. Once the project finds more families, we can start educational scholarships for artisan kids, group insurance schemes and housing schemes thereby empowering this community. Skill is our strength and UTHHAN explore the same for an upgraded living.


UTHHAN PROJECTIONS FOR NEXT 5 YEARS

1) Setting up industrial sheds for bulk manufacturing
2) UTHHAN outlets across major cities in India
3) 5000 families under the project
4) Educational scholarships,Life insurance and housing for at least 500 families
5) Setting up colleges for artisans with skill related courses

We are creating virtual UTHHAN STORE with www.gergstore.com (on line shopping initiative of GERG) in the upcoming days for maximum product exposure. We are also in the process of creating a vendor panel where UTHHAN coordinator in a particular area can upload the product photos directly and monitor the sales and revenue flow to artisan account effectively.



You can visit the following links for UTHHAN

Website - uthhan.gergstore.com
Events. -  https://www.facebook.com/uthhan.org/
Shopping - http://www.gergstore.com/1049-uthhan-store



I request all of you to be a part of this attempt to reincarnate our tradition and culture through our artisans, who are the pride of our nation.

And Finally as Henry Ford once said " Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal " .

So lets join hands for the best !!!!!!!


LEEMON RAVI

Note: You can email me all your valuable suggestions and feed back to leemon.r@gmail.com





Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Traditional artisans in India and UTHHAN-Empowering artisans(Part 1)

Traditional Artisans- A section in our society with out which our day to day life can be impossible and  obsolete. They are the largest workforce sector in India placed only behind Agricultural and Industrial sectors, yet unorganised, underprivileged and economically squeezed by various political outfits. Artisan community comprises of skilled and unskilled people who can make/create things from wood, metal, cloth, stone etc. using traditional tools. I will highlight the plight of Artisans in India here and the steps taken by me,along with some good Samaritans to make some difference to their hardships.
The traditional artisans in India is facing the following obstacles which triggered a total financial black out and reduction in the work force over a period of last 10 years

PAY OUT

An artisan pay out is not structured or regularized by government and treated the same as labour charges. The work undertaken by an artisan is not labour but a skilled task, which needs precision and talent. So an artisan payment is as low as a labour, where his work is admired by lakhs of people across the globe and the work is devalued. This has lead to financial apathy since the same amount may not be sufficient for his basic family needs. The irony is that a furniture showroom owner earns more than a carpenter, thereby the value of the work is being disproportionately distributed where the major profit goes to a mere distributor than creator. I won't paint this as a capitalistic approach by any one but definitely not the right way of treating these people. The value of their creation has to go to them on a proportionate manner with the distributor. Unfortunately our existing system and the concerned government bodies are least bothered about all these, since they are busy making money through various means.

EDUCATION

Artisans are educationally backward class of people because of the first factor and zero support from government agencies. The concerned bodies are hell bent to give free education and creating jobs for so called backward casts. Artisans are listed as per their religion and not as per their skills, which made it difficult to organise them for any educational benefits. Education is the back born of a community growth with out which people lack ideas and executional flowcharts for growth and expansion. Even though an artisan has immense creativity for producing a craft but lack of knowledge to compete with a sophisticated society with wide connectivity. This weakness has been utilized by so called Multi national companies and they use their expertise to mint money from these crafts. The artisans treat them like their gods and continue to live under their might still unaware of their own might and creativity. Even their children are not ably supported with education making their future also bleak.

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY  AND UNITY

Any community will sustain, if the same is self reliant and independent. Artisan community is majorly dependent on outside distribution agencies and government bodies for their daily bread thus not self dependent. The first 2 factors along with an unorganised structure completely burdened them and the community is over dependent as of now. This will never allow them to prosper because of exploitation which in turn tuned by the artisans itself because of their helplessness. Since they are not united the strength to imbibe self dependency is marginalized, playing in to the hands of exploiters and their handlers.

JOB RESPECT

You may raise eyebrows with this factor, but this is a major factor for any person to continue with a particular job. Integrity and self respect derive from Job respect. I can blindly tell you that none of us respect the job of an artisan. We respect and acknowledges a craft brand rather than the craft maker, thereby making  young generation of artisans reluctant to take up their traditional jobs. They are not even treating this inherent craftsmanship as a blessing ,but curse. If your predecessor is not ready to carry the mantle of craft making, it poses an immediate threat to the identity of a community. The artisan community is going through this phase as of now, which has to be rectified on a priority basis. Otherwise we have to import artisans from foreign countries by paying a huge sum of money in the future thereby loosing our craft inherited from our great ancestors.

RAW MATERIALS AND WARE HOUSING

This is the basic aspect of an artisan with out which they can't produce artistic marvels. Procurement of raw materials made difficult by middlemen and politicians by way of monopolization and lobbying. These poor underprivileged people  are further arm twisted and made to bent for acquiring raw materials by these antisocial elements ably supported by our bureaucrats. We are living in a country where tribal don't have rights in forest, but poachers have!! Even if the artisan acquires raw material, ware housing has been a nemesis because of their poor living conditions. I have literally seen artisan houses, sorry ' huts ', where they don't have a proper roof to sleep, with hungry kids crying around. The most heartbreaking scene is the situation of  an artisan literally begging to purchase a product to feed his family.

MARKETING AND BRANDING

There are no ways for an uneducated, low income class artisan to know about the importance of marketing and branding. If anybody comes forward to do the same, they churn the artisan again and again to fill their pockets with profit ,leaving this community begging for a living.









The above mentioned artisan plights pulled me to start our initiative called UTHHAN-Empowering artisans. I always believed that, if we fight against any discrimination in a creative and constructive way, success will follow us. I decided to fight against this injustice in my own way, in my own style. I clearly understood that this will be a long fight and needs more will power to get on with it. But I wanted to give a try because nothing will change unless there is an uprising. I have seen so many artisan organisations fighting for their rights post independence, but the benefit goes to leaders and not community and they use them for political mileage and benefits. The renowned leaders of artisan community often lead them to secretariats, public places and so on for demanding their rights, but it is often seen that they will get beating from police and not so called ' rights '. No demands will be fulfilled  by government, if you are not organised and self dependent. I try to achieve this instead of verbal jugglery and political marches through UTHHAN.

I will explain you about UTHHAN and the actions taken till now along with the people involved in detail, in my next blog with all of you.

Please remember artisans when you come across any artisan items and understand that they have to be empowered to upheld our Indian culture !!!



With Hope

LEEMON RAVI
































Saturday, 16 May 2015

GOLDEN ERA ROYAL GROUP AND BUSINESS SHARING

I started GOLDEN ERA ROYAL GROUP 4 years back with GOLDEN ERA PROPERTY PVT LTD as the flagship company in property segment with a group of enthusiasts who possessed crazy brain and naive approach. We have concentrated only on a steady growth curve rather than an exponential outburst.
A steady growth should go hand-in-glove with innovative thinking and apt execution abilities. The companies across the globe has evolved over a period of time; in strategy, branding, expansion and positioning. I belonged to a time where there was an absence of internet connectivity, mobile phones and branding tools. There were entrepreneurs, who pursued their dreams with passion, grit and ambition those days. Print and visual media played a vital part for the growth of past entrepreneurship ventures and there were a flurry of entrepreneurs those days. If you glance through any successful entrepreneurial ventures, effective business sharing was their growth key. People are the assets of a business and flow of money is only the natural outcome of the former process.
I want to highlight only the importance of business sharing with individuals which will act as a fillip to our entrepreneurial dreams.
I have mentioned about the past business trends to emulate the trends in business sharing for our current ventures. A business will attain a steady growth because of many factors, but business sharing being the X factor. Business sharing has been called in different names like Channel partners, business partners, shareholders, franchisees etc. A company, which gives a structural & strategical sharing will come on top ,but  time can be a constraint since trust is a component which will come to you based on individualistic and brand value credibility. In earlier ages, where global market was a far way dream, Promoters used to inculcate business sharing to known or referral individual or group of individuals only. An individual / group of individuals is absorbed in the system and he / they will be nurtured to perform as per the company vision and business processes. This was a much traditional approach of business sharing ,the only disadvantage being the time factor to arrive at the vision. This type of  traditional  approach was used by many of the leading business personalities and succeeded. Bravo to their persistence and passion!!!

In the modern era of business ideologies and ventures equipped with global connectivity  the thinking has to be modified." Diversification " is the new slogan of growth.

" Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow " once
Ralph Waldo Emerson said.

I have put this thought to my line of businesses for growth through diversification. Ralph Waldo was right, but the hitch was my limited knowledge of different segments for diversification. I didn't believe in talent acquisition and supporters based on a fixed remuneration which generates profit towards the company. We strongly stood for young talented minds infused in to our line of businesses. We decided to share the business profit with that young minds allowing them to grow as  entrepreneurs with our group ,enjoying the cushion of experienced people to hold them steady. This is an easy ideology to express but difficult to execute. I had this strategy rooted to my mind on 2011 and put the same to cold storage because of many professional challenges. I also thought that a period of 2-3 years is required for me to set up a platform for younger entrepreneurs to come in.

2013,a magical year for our group GERG where we had started diversifying in to software development, construction, financial, consumer durable & Entertainment. I decided that this is the time to implement the business sharing with young entrepreneurs and started searching for the right talent. The year has passed by with early revenues and completion of deadlines.
In 2014, I got a call from my college, LBS College of Engineering for an alumni and entrepreneurial interaction with Chief minister of Kerala. I was literally overwhelmed since this can relive my business sharing idea and gone to my college after 11 years with a nostalgic feeling. The interaction was amazing and I was surprised to see a lot of students aspiring to become entrepreneurs with unique and brilliant business acumen.

During a lunch hosted by my college after the function a group of 5 students approached me and my wife (She is also a director in all our ventures with a strong creative mind)and asked our advice for starting an E-commerce company. We have shared our experience in the same but not discussed anything about business sharing. Probably because I should have underestimated their knowledge in the segment!!! I came back to Bangalore and concentrated back to our line of businesses. These students again interacted with me after a couple of weeks with their thoughts in E commerce and then I realized their real potential and conveyed them my thoughts on business sharing.

I found a staunch supporter in my wife who backed me because of her confidence and belief in accommodating young talents with fresh minds and innovative ideas. We have started our Ecommerce venture www.gergstore.com developed by these talented minds with my wife donning the role of CEO on August 2014.As I discussed with you earlier, We have included them to this project as employers rather than employees ,thereby following "Diversification through Business sharing" ideology.

The Business sharing was very much fruitful and encouraging that they started executing the business plans as their own which triggered an instant growth. We had held many brain storming sections to grow the business to the next level and the same has started seeing positives. The main aspect of this type of sharing is ,backing their plans for which they will have confidence and can execute the same with vigor. These entrepreneurs are quite young with lots of time in their side to learn about the intricacies of business and processes. We make sure that these talents are nurtured under expert ideas and strong leadership.

There may be many successful entrepreneurs following this module and I am not treating my views as unique. But the same has been experienced by me and this strategy brought growth in to my ventures and this blog is a testimonial to the same. I have started introducing this to my other ventures also. So lets get more people along with us and not under us, for a constructive growth and powerful brand positioning.

Cheers!!
LEEMON RAVI