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’.

If you can LEND A HELPING HAND for the advancement of our country and its people be part of our ENDEAVOR.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Prince of Vienna!!

By : Jithin Raghavan 

Renowned are those Malayali’s who inhibit foreign culture into their lifestyle. But, we seldom come to know of someone who has pioneered a new culture outside his country. Let us meet one such person. The man who introduced the festival that makes every summer in the city of Vienna beyond awesome. His name is Prince Pallikunnel, hailing from the city of Malappuram. 

Midway through the season when the heat reaches its maximum, the city of Vienna develops a festive mood under the leadership of Prince. This has been the scene for the past eleven years. The streets play host to a small ‘world get-together’ with people storming in from every nook and corner with their songs and dance numbers. And to add grandeur to the event, cuisines of all kinds are made available here. The festival named ‘Strassenfest’ fills the mob with a feeling of joy unbound.

Prince is the director of PROSI, the first ever exotic supermarket in Vienna. It is often said that one can find a malayali at every other place in this world, intending pun of course. But then, it is more than difficult to sow the seeds of success on a foreign soil. PROSI reminds us that hard work and determination may not suffice to succeed. Politeness, Respect, Obedience, Service and Intimacy are equally important ingredients for a business to prosper. Back in the year 1999, PROSI was born with all this. For some ten years now, PROSI has taken on the daunting task of bringing the taste of home to the foreign-born people living in Austria, and introducing Austrians to the food of the world.

Born into an ordinary family, it was while pursuing his teaching career (after completing his M.com) that he got the chance to do his higher studies in Austria. After two years since his arrival in the country, he along with a friend of his put up a stall that sold Indian perfumes, vegetables and newspapers. Seeing the immediate success, he started a restaurant as well, which turned out to be a failure. He tried his luck creating a travel agency. The result, sadly, was no different. But, these failures proved to be the very stepping stones to his future success.

What happens in a normal scenario is, when someone comes to a foreign country as a student and finds all his attempts at different ventures ending as failures, he curses himself and the place, and thinks of nothing but returning home. On the contrary, Prince, having learnt a thousand lessons from every single failure he made, and acquiring strength from each of them, built up the first ever exotic supermarket that stands out as the biggest and most useful of its kind in the country. At the age of twenty five, when he flew to Vienna, the only thing he had with him was his master’s degree. But the courage in him to face situations and immense self belief always came to his aid.

The lack of food from home led him to open a shop for Indian products. Apart from being a supermarket, PROSI today is a part of everyone’s daily life in Vienna. For anyone curious about food, though, it is more than fine; it is a treasure trove. Nearly six thousand products from over sixty countries are being sold here. Eateries from around the world are available. People hailing from Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh and Africa are also employers here. Providing native food, PROSI restaurant aims at instilling that warmth of ‘being at home’ to those who leave home and come here looking to prosper in life. In a kitchen at the back of the store, international cooking classes are offered every Saturday.  Once you are inside this chamber you in terms of cuisine can travel from Cameroon to Bhutan, Malaysia to Bolivia, and Madagascar to Myanmar. 

The smell of the kitchen wafts through the supermarket, bringing a memory of home, or a dream of adventure. And needless to say, Indian food finds maximum demand. This also serves as a platform for foreigners to learn and try their hands at the Indian cuisine. The street festival organized by PROSI twice a year is greeted with much enthusiasm. Around fifty odd artists perform in the cultural extravaganza organized along with it. The food festival arranged is equally welcome. Apart from these, yoga and dance classes find places in the festival, which prove to be added bonuses in portraying our culture to the outside world.

A dominating presence in the art and culture in Vienna, Prince established an organization ‘Kala Vienna’ to help enhance international culture in the country. He has served as the representative of Indian World Chamber of Commerce in Austria and the World Malayali Council President. A man of utmost passion in every single thing he does, Prince has done more than a great deal in portraying not only our culture, but a variety of International cultures to Austria. The least we can say is that he has been given a befitting name – PRINCE!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Once upon a time, GOD played with a GOLDEN dice

 Does GOD really need gold & money in the ‘GODS OWN COUNTRY’?
  By : Arjun.R.Shankar

The whole world is flabbergasted and amazed and all their eyes are on the capital city of Gods own country. Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala has managed to take a special place in the history. Usually every tourist reaching this city never misses an opportunity to see the beauty of the magnificent Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple. The massive temple dedicated to lord Vishnu. The temple gave its present name to Thiruvananthapuram. ‘Thiru’ ‘Anantha’ ‘Puram’ means Sacred Abode of Lord Anantha Padmanabha.

 In June 2011 a review of the temples underground vaults was undertaken by a panel appointed by the Supreme Court of India as there were accusations of gross mismanagement within the temple. The inspection team meticulously planned and inspected the temple and opened the age old secret vaults of the temple one by one and the findings were a series of shock to the eyes and mind. They could not believe the eyes as they witnessed priceless treasures from the cellars of the temple.

According to the temple records the vaults were last opened 136 years back and the present one was an attempt transcending history. According to the website of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple the treasure trove so far included countless gold and silver coins, gold ornaments, stone studded crowns, idols and figurines inlaid with precious stones and jewels, golden bow, golden vessels etc. These sterling and opulent treasure literally and virtually mesmerized everyone who had witnessed them. The whole endeavor was radiating impulses of the past and the very opulence of them was unraveling history and traditions with a mix of heightened exaltation. It was the moment when the ‘present’ in their eyes and mind praised the ‘past’. The feelings must have been inexplicable. Even the miniscule part of the configuration of air was filled with a historical redolence.

If the calculations are accurate the treasures value has exceeded one lakh crores and is still appreciating. The experts in charge of estimating the treasures are undertaking a labyrinthine task as it’s always complicated and difficult to estimate the value of such antiques and artifacts. With such a startling treasure bag, the temple has become the richest temple in the world.

Since independence from Britain, the temple is controlled by a trust run by the royal descendants of the Travancore royal family. After 1947 the kingdom of Travancore merged with the princely state of Cochin which ultimately became Kerala. And a special praise and a token of appreciation should be attributed to the royal family for keeping the treasures intact. Over the years and after the independence they always could have taken the wealth which they never did as it was done lavishly by their contemporaries in India and other parts of the world including Nepal. They have upheld the royal dictum that they are still the ‘Padmanabha dasas’ (servant of lord Padmanabha) a title which they assumed years back. 

In the wake of the findings and the international acclaim which it has gained, the first and foremost thing the govt. should do is to effectively beef up the security of the temple premises. At no cost they should make the temple a vulnerable target. In the century of unprecedented fully fledged terrorism anything at any time in any magnitude can happen and the security apparatus should be fully equipped to cover all such dimensions of speculations and reorient its approaches and ethos. Let them install the latest available surveillance systems, alarms etc. The whole area should be under the surveillance of top notch commando wings.

The larger and the most pertinent question asked at this juncture is “What to ultimately do with this treasure trove?”

A lot of views at this juncture say’s that the entire treasure should be used to pay off the debts of the state and country and should be used to undertake developmental activities for the development of the people for providing the basic amenities to the poor. This is indeed a novel idea for a variety of noble causes and it’s a true fact that God does not need money and gold.

But, again the larger question is “should this be at the cost of sacrificing our legacy and historical wealth? Should the confronting problems be solved by selling our unique artifacts?

The acclaimed historian KN Panicker upheld the view that the treasure belongs to the state and the public. The author fully endorses the views upheld by KN Panicker. It’s indeed the wealth of Kerala and all the treasures are an intrinsic part of our culture and history of Kerala. All of them have different stories to tell and has significance of historic proportions. All these treasures are now the vital links which connects the present with the past. There is no doubt that these treasures should be preserved in a well designed museum with world class security facilities and surveillance systems. Now it has become the richest temple in the world and if Cairo museum can meticulously preserve the treasures of Tutankhamen then why can’t we?

The whole treasure trove is a part of history and the people have all the right to see this splendid wealth and understand the history and folklores. Proper and time bound studies should be initiated in a transparent manner to unearth the real stories behind all the artifacts as only more and more research will reveal the true history of the period and it should be brought out for the knowledge of the people.
The Supreme Court of India bench presided by Justice R.K Raveendran and AK Patnaik in an interim order asked the authority to set up a museum to preserve the treasures and has also warned any claim over the treasure in a different order.

We need money for developmental activities but it is not the way to generate money. Let’s stop the humongous corruption, stop pilferage of govt. exchequer, have a strong Lokpal and bring back the countless black money from the Swiss bank and other unidentified sources to our country. Can any minister give the assurance and guarantee that the govt. will utilize these treasures for the benefit of the people with integrity and fullest transparency? If the govt. and the minster’s and politicians are unable to stop the purloining and loot of public money that are really supposed to be used for the benefit of the people how can they safeguard this money? Unless there is no accountability like a strong Lokpal there will be corruption in handling this money and the commitment of the govt. to bring back the black money will gradually die and the treasures will indeed become a real windfall for the govt. in all senses.

Our historical treasure troves should only be preserved for posterity and for the future generations and as it is said the intrinsic and antique value will only appreciate with time.