Me back!! Me back!!
Back to reality, deadlines and rush!!
My trip to Kerala was not a typical one. Oh yeah!! there are pictures as usual but otherwise the trip was a bit hatke
It was a self realization trip about life, the understanding of what basic necessities are, what luxury is and how it feels to be stranded.
Few highlights here. This trip was mainly to visit relatives. So we did end up hopping from one home to another.
How does it feel to be taken care and pampered? The hospitality was really really great, we were looked after so very well, just like how a mother would care for her infant. It was bizarre for me as I have never been looked after since a child, it was always self help right from childhood and as such I was never dependent for any needs and could take care of my needs without any body's assistance. As such; it was awkward for me to be served food and tea, my bath ready, my bed made ready.......I felt sorry for them and was feeling uncomfortable and guilty that I was troubling my hosts.
How peaceful is a life with only basic needs. I visited Idukki district in Kerala which is very beautiful with forests, tea estates, greenery all around but unfortunately supposed to be a poorer district. Most places have no usable roads, the villages are inaccessible and folks literally climb and cross hills to visit other people's homes. Minimal facilities to sustain life but ample nature around. Those old but crowded buses, people hanging around the jeeps as it bounces up and down to get to the nearest town which is 15 kms away; even for emergencies.
What its like to be cut off from the world. No TV (wanted no more of TV anyways), no mobile network most of the times, no access to newspapers, no laptop, no Internet access. I didn't know what was happening with the outside world. All that was available was the aroma of tea, endless area of mountains and tea plantations, streams flowing just outside the house, plants of pepper, cardamom, vanilla around you, blanket of sky and chill breeze.
What is it to be indulging in things that you wont normally do. Borrowed a kid's bicycle and cycled around the tea plantations. Woke up one morning to walk amongst the tea plantations having a puppy for company and surrounded by mist. Walk further down to a tiny pond to catch crabs with kids not older than 9 years. Sit unaware for hours gazing at the tiny streams flowing by with pure water. End up eating stuffs that you haven't tasted before. Visiting a tea factory and learning the process of tea making, watching women gather tea leaves. To be using home remedies like asoefitida, ginger, honey for digestion, cough and cold.
How sweet it is to be welcomed by one and all. Unlike the stares you get from your neighbor in the city, each one knows the other so well in those villages. A new visitor is welcomed with excitement and one wont leave unless he/she knows where we are from and other details. We do end up feeling suffocated and as if its prying but its actually excitement and care that someone from outside has come to visit them. A stranger greets you with smile, a lady sitting beside you in a bus initiates a conversation and departs with a broad smile, a kid comes to you and talks incessantly as if you and the kid have known each other for ages, each one greets the other.....Everyone knows everyone else.
How does it feel to be stranded when your car breaks down in a place inaccessible to none on January 1st!!! At a place where the mobile network is none. At a place where you can not find a single living creature for kilometers at a stretch. Only to get some help after hours of waiting!! To tow the car down the hills and figuring out there is no proper car care shop? To figure out the mechanics know just to fix jeeps but not cars? To endure the delay as the spare parts were not of the car model and we need to go 120 kms away just to get the right spare parts!!
It was all these and IT IS AN EXPERIENCE. Pictures now :-)
One among the many paths we tread. Poor car!!
Walking is along such paths.
A view in front of the house we stayed
The roads again....which was the reason for the car breakdown
One of the many crabs that were caught
These boys caught 15 crabs and 2 fishes in under 1/2 hour. They are searching for more
The puppy which accompanied me for the morning walk among the tea plantations. His name is KULFI
The AVT tea factory that we visited. No photography inside.
Out of the world.
God's Own Country...Truly
Once again for the proof
Women picking leaves. They wear layers of clothing and boots to protect themselves from snakes
7 AM....this is how it was.
The misty road
What I got from Kerala? Memories, photos and this wine holder :-D