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Monday, May 31, 2010

On the top of the World !

What is it that wants man to soar over all ?
To be in the top of the worlds tallest building and look down at Terra firma is almost philosophical ,it makes your worries vanish without trace !

Me with my son and daughter did just that last week .
I had seen the Burj Dubai coming up over the years whenever I drove to Dubai its pencil like spire growing taller and taller lost in the hazy horizon of the Manhattan like skyline of modern Dubai .
And one fine day it was complete and opened with a bang with a new name the Burj Khalifa .
An architectural marvel it is the tallest man made structure ever built at 2717 feet
( 821 m) ,
construction began in 2004 and it opened in 2010 ,part of the flagship development Downtown Dubai 420 acres big .

The largest mall in the world the Dubai mall ,with the largest book shop in the world the Kinokoniya ,and a huge aquarium spanning two floors ,
The Adress Downtown Hotel facing the Burj itself
( where yours truly had the opportunity to stay for a day in the 64th floor gazing at the Burj coming up ) ,the Dubai fountain ,and a heritage shopping mall .
The total cost of the Burj Khalifa is around 1.5 billion dollars the whole downtown Dubai costing around 20 billion dollars !

An Armani hotel occupies fifteen of the lower 39 floors .
Floors through to 108 floors will have 900 residential apartments which got sold out in eight hours flat !
Rest have corporate offices except the 122 ,123 ,and 124 floors which house the At Mosphere restaurant ,sky lobbies ,indoor and outdoor observation decks ,
It would hold 35000 people at any time and would have 57 elevators and 8 escalators rising at 59feet /second ,
2990 stairs upto 160 th floor ,with state of the art exterior cleaning equipment it would take 36 specialised cleaners 3 to 4 months to clean the outside of the building !
so much for the trivia thanks to Wikepedia
The tickets to the top was 100 dirhams if bought in advance ( at least a day before )
At present no online booking is available and we made a trip to Dubai mall the previous evening to do the booking as immediate booking was a costly 400 Dirhams per head
( as tall as the building )

The entry was from Dubai mall .
One went through a moving platform and reached a small hall with amodel of the tower and touch screen comparisons with other towers .
One has to go through a security check almost similar to an airport check in
( naturally security is important ) and then is ushered into an elevator ,surprisingly small and closed ,unlike the one in Burj Al Arab another tall hotel in Dubai ,which had a glass side and glass floor and one could see the sea on descending .
We zoomed up quite fast and the pressure pooped our ear buds close and the we reached the top .

The view was scintillating
Dubai lay below us in its afternoon summer haze ,we could see the top of the Dubai mall and many high rise buildings in ShiekZayed road far below us .

The toy cars were snaking in the desert mirage
The Jumeirah beach and its lashing waves with the Palm strutting out like a proud peacock were a sight to behold .
There were telescopes where one could focus on buildings which were labelled .
We spent more than an hour leisurely taking photographs for the posterity .
A souvenuir shop sold items at Burj prices ! ( we have been there souvenuirs )

we came down ,the corridor full of videos that showed the building process and photographs of many workers and engineers ,
I could spot many Anthappans ,Sukumaran pillas ,Noushads and Joy mathews there !
and was a bit proud of myself and our Mallus !

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Child Labour

20 % of Indian children between 6 and 14 are not studying in schools ,
they have no choice
12.6 million are engaged in work ...........that is child labour for you !

Neither does the media find all this worthwhile to focus on such important issues nor do our great leaders have time to ponder over all this .

Our Constitution clearly states that children have a right to education and are not to be employed in hazardous work but in reality things are different .

Child bonded labour too is very prevalent , specially in the north where poverty forces parents to sell chiildren to agents who lend them money ( at times meagre amounts ) making thier children bonded slaves for a long time .

The match making industry in Sivakasi ,weaving industry in Kanchipuram in Tamilnadu ,and in Karnataka employ children .The diamond industry in Surat ,Garment industry and many more all have thier sweatshops where children are exploited .

We find children cleaning in restaurants mopping tables selling sundry good in traffic stops inhaling the fumes ,in road building ,construction ,metal and welding shops automobile workshops and so on .

They are given pittance beat bullied unfed and ill treated mostly ( there are exceptions too )

All this can only happen with the connivance of law enforcing agencies .

Corrupt officials conveniently look to the other side in such situations

Domestic child labour too is common .

I still remember when I was young we had a boy a bit older than me working and staying in our house ,of course he was looked after well and was my playmate ,but I used to wonder why he never went to school like me !

Those days( 1960 to 70 ) it was common practice for children being brought from native villages (Kerala in my case ) and the parents of the child considered it as benificial to be so brought up in a good home in exchange for some domestic work,

But looking back at it Iam embarassed .

One cannot wish away this wrong by introducing laws alone

Poverty ,ignorance and exploitation are the main causes behind it and as long as we have people who lack the bare essentials it would go on .

with all of us enamoured of a developing India making great strides we often ignore or forget that a vast majority of our countrymen wallow in abject poverty, leading a life of penury

This gray area has to be adressed before we call ourselves as developed

Progress may percolate down but could also get stuck in between by exploitation in the middle

The efforts by the Government for equal rights in educations are welcome indeed but each one of us should be aware of such existing inequalities and fight against them in our own small ways .

The media which can contribute immensely by bringing light such stories in both written or visual forms should do so , instead of wasting all thier time on the pronouncements of uncouth politicians
We hope a day comes when every child in our country goes to the school and does not sit in dingy sweat shops tears dribbling down thier dirt streaked faces .

Sunday, May 02, 2010

movie movie

This holiday I managed to see six films
three malayalam ,two hindi and one Tamil

VERDICT :two of the three mallu flicks was o.k the third one a dismal bore
only tamil flick I saw was xlnt
both hindi films were dud s

PAPPI APPACHAN : one would imagine with the likes of Dileep ,Innocent and Kavya and thier talents any film would be a winner but this kind of thinking is wrong ,
this poor try of a Meesamadhavan comeback was a dismal failure and a pain for the posterior .
PATASHALA : once again another movie that brings out hte truth having good actors and spending good money does not make good films !
with Shahid kapoor and Nana patekar wasted this movie was I think trying to tell on the commercialistation of present education
a lot of disjointed scenes with no sense alternatively laughing and sob dancing children with wicked school managers and a passive principal movie ended with none of us knowing what had happened

PAYYA : Karthi brother of Surya and son of ester actor Sivakumar exels himself in this tamil film
a delight to watch ( a masala film actually ) with lot of dishums ,but the actor lent authenticity to even some absurd stunts by his intensity ,
romance too did its magic it was wholesome entertainment ( watch out this guy he could make it )


Ram Gopal Varma and his horror flick started off well with excellent camerawork sound effects and music ,silence is well used in several situations and the bungalow set in Alibag with empty beaches and dense forests added to the mystery but it stopped with this ,with no story,poor editing ,and incompetent direction the movie descended to a tragicomedy and an orgy of murders ,

black magic withces empty swings and everything else in a cauldron

sad to think crores of rupees are spent on such hindi movies !

one of the best movie I saw recently ,
story is nothing new father kills daugters rapists and seeks legal solace Mohanlal the sauve attorney uses his gray cells and squashes all criminal proceedings against Suresh gopi ,both have done a great job specially S. Gopi has done a very restrained job though bringing out the pain in the character effectively

IN GHOST HOUSE INN : contrary to phoonk II this had shoddy music and no great photography, horror comedy was the genre but the final outcome was much better with an unsuspecting climax reasonobaly good comedy specially from Jagadeesh the dentist

cant compare with phoonk II

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