Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity. The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

If you don't create change, change will create you. Change starts when someone sees the next step and the first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. Many fine things can be done in a day if you don't always make that day tomorrow. You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.

Sometimes it's the smallest decisions with larger aims that can change the lives of many. If our attempts can at least become a spark. We are really grateful and the TEAM can proudly proclaim ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wer art thou Mr. Footpath?

This time we are bringing something Straight from the HEART of cities. Exclusive writings related to various aspects of a city are analysed in multidimensional angles. This is a new attempt by us to bring some of the very important, dazzling or least bothered problem of city to the fore. Change Editor X of your BLOG- Jithin Raghavan has gone round the cities and the writing is an account from the heart and reflects the Pulse and vibrancy of the cities. This time it’s straight from the historic city of KOZHIKODE or Calicut.

By:  Jithin Raghavan

It’s been a while since I wanted to do this write-up. The people here in Calicut collectively ask, “Where are the footpaths?”. This is a journey in search of them. Footpaths here mean the drainages that have been topped with slabs. Shopkeepers have taken over the footpaths and these have vanished into thin air having merged with the shops. At certain other places, the footpath vendors rule the roost. The pedestrians seldom get the chance to access the footpaths and are forced to take the busier roads. Even though it has been the case for quite some time now, no action has been taken in this regard whatsoever apart from the roads around Mananchira1, where the corporation has built them with perfection. 

We need footpaths. Footpaths that work! Footpaths which make it possible for pedestrians to walk. Quite simply a path for people going on foot! The term is often for paths within an urban area that offer shorter quieter routes for pedestrians. But this term will soon be forgotten. We do have footpaths but certainly not for safe pedestrian walking! There have been those footpaths where one can walk safely with head held high without fear of tripping on a loose stone. Then there were those where one had to tread very carefully head bowed down to ensure that one didn’t trip and land face down on the pavement! There have also been those with yawning holes wide enough to accommodate a foot and leave the walker shocked and very disturbed. With all the construction activity in many areas it isn’t uncommon to see building materials strewn all over the footpath. But here in the city of Calicut the biggest headache are those diligent footpath vendors who liberally decorate the footpath with footwear, fruits, food stalls etc!

The narrow footpaths on either side of the roads at Valyangadi1.1 have luckily not yet been taken over. But, different is the case with the roads at the market where vehicle parts are sold. The road connecting Aurobindo Gosh road and the Cherooty road passing right through the middle of the market is in a terrible situation. Such is the amount of vendors and goods that one tends to wonder if there is any road at all. The footpaths are loaded with the leftovers of the sold vehicles and have absolutely no role at all.

Footpath is just a figment of one’s imagination at the court road. And just in case you are thinking of going to the S.M.Street2 from the fourth gate along the footpaths, you might as well think again. There is every chance that you end up somewhere else. The shops have beautifully merged the footpaths to themselves. Elsewhere, the pedestrians are troubled by the goods and almirahs being kept on the footpath by the owners of the shops. It’s like a few segments separated by equally long spaces, simply cancelling out their very use. Things are no different in the Sweet Meat Street. Footpaths are totally under the control of the vendors. One can seldom see them let alone walk on them. Similar is the scene at the P.M.Taj road.

The footpaths at the entrance to the Palayam market have been beautifully modified by the corporation. These end at the subways. But the ill factor is that these are not user friendly. The pedestrians get themselves into a tangle if they try coming out of the footpaths as it is a parking hub for two wheelers and four wheelers alike. As far the market is concerned, the fruit sellers use up most of the space. Even the slightest disturbance at the footpaths turns out to be a bigger problem in the busiest of roads in the city. The vendors are maximum in number during the evening. And the pedestrians being more in number during this time as well, makes it even more cumbersome. 
Even though the vehicles are less in number at the Moideen Pally road, it still is difficult to travel on foot due to the street vendors prevalent at the place.
Takeover of the footpaths are at its most beautiful form at the Malaparamba3 junction. Some vendors have taken the footpaths as their private property here. The police had once taken the initiative to stop the sales here. But due to interception from the senior officials, they failed to carry out the “operation”. This being one of the busier places in the city, it becomes even more troublesome to travel.

These are just a few of the sample scenes at the city. At certain other places like Pottamal junction, Nadakkavu, English church road et al, takeovers have been made though in a smaller magnitude. And both the police and the corporation are still finding it hard to come up with a solution.
All requests, politely or otherwise have fallen into deaf ears and they have become permanent landmarks in the area. Most of the footpaths on the main roads have been narrowed. The authorities need broader roads to accommodate a burgeoning city replete with many hundred vehicles added on a daily basis.

Let me mention those footpaths which have been generously concreted by builders who felt that it was their God given right to present such an entrance to their many apartment owners. Never mind if there are rain water drains and chambers as old as the last century beneath them! Are the powers that be listening?  Will road widening also mean decent footpaths in this city? Beware people! You simply cannot be footloose on the footpath anymore!

NOTES:  1- Mananchira Square is a park in the heart of Kozhikode town, Kerala state, south India. The historic maithan, adjacent to Manachira has been converted into an arcadia with beautiful trees and plants, artificial hill, shrubs, sculpture, an open air theatre and above all, a musical fountain. 

1.1          -- Valiyangadi
Valiyangadi alias Big Bazaar, one of the major shopping centers located near the railway station is known for its wholesale of Kerala spices. Big Bazaar road and Court road are good places to purchase spices. Handicrafts items can be purchased from the supermarkets on Mavoor road and CSI Mananchira. Valiyangadi is also known for its wholesale trade of fresh, salted and preserved fish.

2. S.M.Street
The Sweat Meat Street is one of the busiest and crowded areas of the Kozhikode city. The Kozhikode Halwa and Chips are popular throughout Kerala. The other local culinary delight in SM Street is the 'Biriyani'. S.M. Street is just across the Mananchira Square. Walking through S.M. Street and further through the Big Bazaar Road gives one, a glimpse of activity in the market. The roads on both sides are lined with quaint old stores selling all kinds of goods. The Big Bazaar Road leads to the beach.

Malaparamba is located in the suburbs of Kozhikode city, Kerala, South India. Kozhikode on the Malabar coast, was the capital of the Zamorins and also a prominent center of trade and commerce. It was on the Kappad beach near Kozhikode that the Portuguese navigator Vasco Da Gama landed in 1498 in his search for a sea route to India. A monument to commemorate this historical landing can be seen on the beach


  1. Gr8 thought givn 2 a common bt usualy underestimatd prblm.. Der hv been many cases whr pedestrains fractured nd wounded their legs in dese precious holes... Nicely craftd jithu nd i lykd d images in particular... Gud goin guys...
    P.s: w8ng 4 mor of dese...


    Excellent work Jithin!!! :) The way u presented this secenario... clapzz clapzzz :)

    Way to go guys!!! All the very best!!!

  3. Great post! This should be dedicated to the memory of a Policeman who fell into a gaping hole in the footpath in Mavoor Road and was drowned.

  4. Really gr8....u have wonderfully explained the situation of the city...good work...& all the very best.