Tuesday, 25 February 2014

It’s Carnival time




Goa carnival is popular all over India and abroad too. There is an influx of tourists from all over India and around the world. The focal point of celebrations is in Panjim, the buzzing capital of Goa, where the maximum number of street performances, floats and a five-day food and cultural festival will be hosted....


The world over, like in Brazil, Canada, Italy and the US, these countries host carnival, the annual street party with creative floats, costumes, singing, dancing and it’s the time to freak out. It’s fun and party time for the locals.

In India, the most popular carnivals are hosted in Goa, Cochin and Manali winter carnival. This year the Goa carnival will begin on February 28 and go on till March 4 across the fun-loving state. The Goa carnival is normally celebrated before Lent, the 40-day period of fasting, prayer and abstinence before Easter.

Goa carnival is popular all over India and abroad too. There is an influx of tourists from all over India and around the world. The focal point of celebrations is in Panjim, the buzzing capital of Goa, where the maximum number of street performances, floats and a five-day food and cultural festival will be hosted. 

The floats draw in the crowds. They depict Goan art, culture, tradition, folk dances, Goan tiatrs (plays) and folk songs known as mandos. However, over the years, it has undergone a major transformation. The float designs have improved and the fun and frolic has gotten more colourful and innovative. The floats are conceptualized and created by the locals, especially youngsters with the help of oldies from various villages of Goa. Now it has become a bit commercialized with even the corporate and private sector participating in this mega event. Top Indian bands come here to showcase their music and are scheduled to perform this year too.

The whole atmosphere is charged with friendly competition and fun. The focal point and the major attraction is the King Momo, a pot-bellied man, who is accompanied by enchanting dancers in colourful and fancy costumes, and sits atop a float as the King of the Carnival. He is selected by the committee from the huge number of requests it receives for this big event. A theme dance, The Samba Square is also planned in Panjim. This year’s carnival is being touted to be the biggest held so far.

In India, different states have celebrated and also hosted one-off carnivals in recent years to showcase the place, attract tourists and boost tourism in their regions. These include the Chandigarh Carnival held in Nov 2013 and the Sikkim Winter Carnival in Dec 2013.

Cochin Carnival in Kerala is held in December. The carnival has been in existence for thirty years and is celebrated in the last week of December. 

It is part of the Potuguese legacy that the coastal port city shares with Goa. Portuguese, Dutch and Indian dance forms are the major attractions in the fun and celebrations. The procession is led by a decorated elephant on New Year’ Day is the highlight of the carnival.

Manali Winter Carnival in Himachal Pradesh is held in January. It has been held since 1977. Skiing championships, food festivals, craft bazaars, local music and band competitions, folk dances, street plays and adventure sports are its highlights. This year’s five day winter carnival started on January 2. The Winter Queen Pageant is a popular event.

And around the globe, carnivals are held, like the Rio Carnival in Brazil in February, Trinidad & Tobago Carnival in West Indies in March, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, USA in January-March, Quebec Winter Carnival in Canada in January-February and Venice Carnival in Italy during February-March.

From Goa to Brazil to West Indies to US to Europe, carnival season invites all to enjoy the local flavor and participate in the fun and frolic. Take to the streets, freak out and have great fun! 

Carnivals act as a catalyst for tourism and boosting the image of the region, promoting the arts, craft, culture, traditions and food.


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Picture Post:


Gaganachukki Falls in Mandya, Karnataka, Indiia
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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Is Indian Economy on the road to recovery?


A decade is a long period to analyse the economy of a nation. India, UPA decade of 2004-14, economic reforms, compulsions of coalition politics and corruption allegations have buffeted the UPA government’s quest for growth. 

India’s economy has swung from a heady high to a crippling slow down. India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual average of 7.6% during the period, including the two latest years which saw a crippling slow down – an enviable achievement particularly at a time when US and the EU were reeling in recession.

Despite the recent slowdown, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) – the total value of goods and services produced within the country’s boundaries; is within striking distance of crossing $2 trillion mark joining the elite group of globe’s richest economies. It shows Indian economy’s resilience.

How does India compare with world’s biggest economies? By most estimates, India is set to become the world’s fifth, if not the third largest economy over the next decade in terms of size measured by GDP (in dollar billion). 


But it has still some distance to cover to catch up with the big economies such as US and China – They stand as follows - USA: $16, 724bn, China: $8,939bn, Japan: $5,007bn, Germany: $3,593bn, France: $2,739bn, UK: $2,490bn, Brazil: $2,190bn and India; $1,778bn.

The rupee has tumbled from heady high to record low in the ten years. A weaker rupee makes all important goods and travelling abroad costlier.

But it gives the foreign tourists more money to spend here. A fall in rupee also partly explains the reason behind inflation. Rising income has led to a greater demand and sales of both consumer durables as well as food items. Higher demand has led to higher prices.


Few events capture the Indian economy’s growth as the rise of the Sensex which indicate the rise and growth of Indian industry.

In ten years, the benchmark equity index has yielded more than 300% returns. Billions of dollars that have flown in to the country symbolizes the world’s faith in India. Whatever the drawbacks or hurdles, it seems Indian economy is on the road to recovery.



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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The end of India’s most popular car


First it was the old Amby, short for Ambassador and old Fiat and Premier Padmini seen all over India till the end of seventies and early eighties. Then came Maruti. India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki was recently given a quiet and solemn burial to Maruti800 – the car that encouraged India to drive and made Maruti, a household name.

Launched at a starting price of Rs 47,500, Maruti800 was a coming of age car that offered features like AC and fuel efficiency. And ironically, the end of Maruti800’s journey comes barely months after its first proud owner Harpal Singh passed away last year. And the first owner, Harpal’s family continues to chug along even after the owner passed away leaving his proud possession.

The last Maruti800 rolled off the assembly line in Gurgaon on Jan 18 this year and brings to a close a glorious chapter and a remarkable 30-year-old journey. It was the mainstay for the company till 2004 and remains the most sold car in India with sales of around 2.7 million cars.

Maruti has already discontinued the car from 13 major cities in India including four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkatta and Chennai, back in 2010 when stricter emission norms came into effect. RC Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India states, ‘M800 was a coming of age car that offered features like air conditioning and fuel efficiency.’ It was the owner’s pride and neighbour’s envy! The small car loved by all.

As all good things come to an end. The end of the journey for M800 was inevitable, but its impact in India would be everlasting. Still many M800’s in top condition are on the roads taking its proud owners on a long journey. M800 has left its imprint on Indian automobile history. For many Indians M800 was the first car and from which they went on to buy other latest cars, SUVs and sedans. I am sure, none of them will ever forget the M800.


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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Mumbai Meri Jaan! - Mumbai’s modes of mass transport


Recently some good things have happened in Mumbai with criticism of the traffic jams, crowded roads and pot holes. Earlier it was the Mumbai-Pune Expressway making the drive to Pune smoother, comfortble and faster. Recently, it was the Eastern Freeway which made it possible for people residing in the northern suburbs to reach South Mumbai skipping the traffic jams and signals in 20-25 minutes. It’s a treat to drive on this road. On Sat, 1 Feb 2014, MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan region Development Authority) inaugurated India’s first Monorail in Mumbai at the hands of the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. The first phase will cover a distance of 8.93-km with seven stations from suburban Chembur to Wadala depot, which will be later extended up to Jacob Circle on completion of the second phase.

Mumbai has seen changing modes of mass transport over the years. The first passenger train in India ran in Mumbai between Bori Bunder and Thane on April 16, 1853. Since then, the city has reached several milestones in its journey of giving the people efficient and economical mass transport. However the monorail that opened to public on 1 Feb is special not only as a highly modernized means of travel, but also because it is the first mass transport introduced in the city since independence.

Train: Historic run from Bori Bunder to Thane in 1853
First it was the train, around 160 years ago. Mumbai got its first mode of mass transport in the form of trains covering the far ends of suburban Mumbai – Western, Central and Harbour line. The first train ran between Bori Bunder and Thane on April 16. 1853. Then after some years appeared the Electric Multiple Units. With the city’s growing needs, the steam engine-run trains were replaced 
with electric multiple units (EMU) in 1925. The first suburban EMU was introduced in 1925. This was followed by the new age trains. Over the last decade, the trains have seen a major change. The yellow and maroon trains have been replaced with more comfortable, fast and energy-efficient white-purple trains.

Trams: Trams introduced in 1874
Then came the trams in 1874. It was second in popularity to the trains in the last century. The first tram, which was horse-driven, was introduced in Parel and Colaba on May 9, 1874. And next after some yes, was the electric tram. The city got its first electric tram on May 7, 1907. By that time, the length of the city’s tram network was more than 45-km. Double-decker trams were in operation too.

Though the trams were cheap, the trams created  traffic hurdle as the motor vehicles on the roads increased. The authorities thus stopped the service from March 31, 1964. The last tram left Bori Bunder for Dadar at 10 pm.

Buses: BEST rolls out in 1926
The BEST buses were introduced on July 15, 1926. The buses ran from Afghan Church to the Crawford Market, Dadar TT to King’s Circle, and Opera House to Lalbaug. 

The BEST undertaking introduced several types of buses, many of which were phased out later. However the most iconic of them, the double-decker bus, was introduced in 1937. With changing times, the BEST introduced its first air-conditioned bus service in 1998. Replacing its old buses, the BEST slowly introduced the present Cerita and Volvo buses.


With the city expanding, people were open to other modes of transport. This led to the new-age transport system. And the monorail and metro service were preferred.

Monorail: brings a lot of cheers
The monorail on 1 Feb 2004 opened to public, is the first mass transport system introduced after independence. The Mumbai Metropolitan region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to introduce the monorail in 2008 with nine corridors.

Metro: next in line
Mumbai’s first metro is expected to start running between Versova and Ghatkopar in the next couple of months, covering the distance in 25 minutes. Though the MMRDA had planned metro network of 146-km in the Mumbai Metropolitan region in 2004, only 11.4-km stretch is ready. Indian Railway’s technical wing RDSO will test the dynamic behavior of metro trains and conduct emergency trials to check breaking potential. The ministry of railways will give the final approval to the Metro One project after which the service will be open to the citizens.


Apart from the popular black and yellow taxis and blue and silver cool cabs to the 3 wheeler auto rikshaws, and a host of private air-conditioned cabs to buses and trains; Mumbai now has monorail as the new mode of mass transportation with metro following soon promising to make the residents’ journey faster and comfortable.



* To be here or to communicate: aneelanike@gmail.com

……………………………………………………………………………………………..................
Book to read
Bharata, My Brother
- Bharata's episode in Ramayana in verse form.
 Including Ramayana: story in brief & Bharata's profile.
Written by: Anil Kumar Naik
- Foreword by Shri Asaranna Swami, Durga Parmeshwari temple,
Kateel, Karnataka.
Price: Rs 200   + P&F Rs 50
Place your order at: akn929@yahoo.com
………………………………………………………………………………………….....................