Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What I experienced in Kerala

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


Path to?


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

49 comments:

  1. a re-visit to Kerala...what a roller coaster ride you had...loved the images as usual..and your experience and description and images of the village - i wish i had gone there too :(

    and about your car breaking down experience - poor u..new year start with this...but I am sure the rest of the days are going to be rocking for you

    WELCOME BACK!!!!!!!!! :))))))))

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  2. hii!
    wow! as beautiful as my fav Himachal :D

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  3. Fantastic photography.....Thank You, for you made me proud of being a Keralite....by the way, why don't you take on travelogue writing as a profession ? Reading it, I felt a cool, soothing breeze blowing from Idukki :)

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  4. Excellent post as always. Nice pictures as usual. I wanted to say I am glad you had a nice time in Kerala. But the car breakdown thing in a "no man's land" is a horrible experience.

    In villages, people are nice and hospitable. They have this wonderful smile. I am glad you had that memory.

    Kerala is really a natural beauty. Again, thanks for the pictures,.

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  5. OOhh..so many people here on blogsville have posted updates abt kerala that I want to be there right nowwww....
    Gawd, beautiful place...n equally beautiful was the photography...
    Cheers!:)

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  6. Wow.. lovely photos!!!!

    I wud love to visit Kerala!!!

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  7. Guess who's back, back again
    Insignia's back, tell a friend
    Guess who's back, guess who's back,
    guess who's back...:D

    That was heaven really! Your photographs are just getting better and better.
    And your car broke down in the middle of the road with no one around? Whoa!! How romantic! I've imagined that situation over a million times. Damn! It never got manifested. :-(
    Well, lovely post. I could imagine everything you've said perfectly well. Thanks to your splendid narration.
    Yaappy New Year! :-)

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  8. 7 am and misty road look good.nice place kerala.and u in flickr? seem to put loads of photos here.free

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  9. really a god's own place..so serene and beautiful..I envy the people who have relations at such places:)..I dont have....bahut accha laga:)

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  10. I was transported to Kerala entirely..heart mind & soul ;-)

    Lovely experience. What a nice way to end the yr. Photos are beautiful!!! Kerala.. sigh! never fails to amaze me.

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  11. Neha,

    Is it so?? Good. :-) I did have a roller coaster and a giant wheel ride too...:-D
    Oh dont worry, you can always go there next time. Thanks for the comments, glad you liked the pictures.

    Oh yes, about the car break down. I was never really concerned until very much bothered and worried souls told me "not to get worried now that such an incident occurred on New Year's Day" Until then I was fine and then I was like "Whoooaaa...I never thought about this, but what the heck..any day is fine"

    I hope the rest of the year sure brings in lot of interesting stuffs. :-)

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  12. Hi AS,

    thank you. Kerala is very different from Himachal
    :-) Unique in its own way

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  13. Hi Rohith,

    Thanks my friend. It isn't any photography skills, but the place.
    I haven't morphed any picture. I am really glad that you are proud to be a Keralite. :-)
    Travelogue writing as a profession....hmmm.....how do I go about that?

    No idea...need to do some research to figure out. But I dont travel so much, maybe twice or thrice in a year. Thanks for suggesting this. It does seem to be a nice alternatibe profession. :-)

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  14. Hi SG,

    Thank you. Thank you :-)
    The car break down did frustrate a bit, but it was fine.
    Its all sweet and salt. You are right, people go out of their way to help and make the visitors comfortable in villages.

    Kerala is an amazing place, I havent been to back waters yet. But I am waiting for a chance as always. :-)

    Its my pleasure to share pictures of such beautiful things. thank you.

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  15. Hi Jaunty,

    Welcome to B Log. Did most write about Kerala? No surprise.
    It is the place to unwind and relax. Thanks much for your comments. '

    I recommend you go there when possible, how many ever times you visit, each is a wonderful experience

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  16. How absolutely awesome ! Give me kerela...anyday ! I have travelled there so much...yet there seems to be more to be discovered !

    And idukki is an awesome place to be in too !

    And you have relatives there ! And that too, ones that take care of you ! Truly Gods own country indeed !

    Thanks for sharing. Sorry to hear of the breakdown. But that must have provided an experience of itself. Wast that a Ritz or an Estillo...

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  17. Hi Abhi,

    Thanks much. You should visit Kerala at least once.

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  18. Karthik,

    Yup yup!! Me back!! Me back!! Me back!1 :-P
    Thank you for those compliments about my photography.
    My friend who is my inspiration would really feel happy. :-)

    Yes, my car broke down in a god forsaken place. Was it romantic?
    No it wasnt. I and my husband almost broke down after seeing our car's condition.

    And I pray it doesnt happen with anybody even in wildest dreams. Mind you, its NOT romantic.
    Glad that the post helped your imagination.

    New Year wishes to you too :-)

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  19. soin,
    Yeah, those pics are heavenly. I am not on flickr.
    Actually I am, but dormant.

    These photos I have put here are very very few; best among the lots.
    I do tend to click lot of pictures and cant put up all on blogspot.

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  20. Hi Antarman,

    It is God's own place. Yes, serene, placid and gorgeous.
    Hehehehe, I have so many relatives there, lost count.
    Thank you.

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  21. Lostworld,

    Got lost amongst forests in Kerala?
    Nice way to end a year and begin a new one.
    Thank you.

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  22. Hi Kavi,

    Oh yes!! Kerala, any time...always welcome.
    Idukki is such a beautiful place to be one with nature.

    Hahaha, yes I have many relatives there who really pamper me a lot.

    My pleasure to be sharing such wonderful things. The car breakdown, yeah, couldnt help
    It was an experience as you said. A different one, which I dont regret experiencing.
    Thank heavens that it was not a big car If it were a sedan; God knows what would have happened

    People there are so very used to such roads that they assured us that the roads were nice and awesome.
    The car could take no more. The car is an Estilo. :-)

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  23. Lucky you to enjoy freshness and purity uninterrupted

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  24. I really felt like I was with you in Kerala while all this was happening. Enjoyed the unique style of the narrative.

    I cannot tell you that I like selected photos in this post. Every photograph is simply superb. Not one telling the same story. I am so proud of you my dear. I wish I was there in India... Missing home more than ever.

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  25. Holy Lama,

    I was indeed lucky :-) But you are all time lucky lucky, arent you? :-)

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  26. Gautam,

    Thats such a great compliment. Thanks much.

    Photos - I understand what you mean sweets. Approval from you that my snaps are good definitely means I did a great job again. It encourages me further to do better.

    And you miss home..:-( Awww....get back soon.. Take care

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  27. I go to Kerala almost every year but never have I seen such beautiful pictures but then I havent visited the hilly areas:-)

    Glad u had a good time!!!!!

    P.s: Will U come over to my blog…I need to give u something:-)!!!

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  28. oo lately Neha was in Kerala as well is'nt it? idukki is an awesome place!!!!! luv the fotos Bindu.... ne engayoo poita

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  29. Hi Reflections,

    Hmm....Its time to visit the hilly regions of Kerala. :-) I havent visited backwaters yet. Thanks, I did have nice time.

    PS : Sure thing, will hop on to your blog right away :-)

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  30. Hary,

    Yeah, she was in Kerala too. Idukki is an awesome place and thanks for liking the snaps.

    Engayum pohaleye...inga thaana irukkaen :-P

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  31. Different experiences in life make us wise, or should I say, if we decide, happier :)

    Maybe without facilities, but core Kerala is just wonderful.

    Village Life

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  32. Hi Bhavesh,

    Absolutely!! It makes us wise and happy. :-)

    Who wants facilities if you see beauty everywhere. Kerala is gorgeous.

    Thanks for your comments

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  33. beautiful post with beautiful pics

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  34. I posted here..but cant see it what happened?

    :)

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  35. first time on your blog
    :)

    so a trip to God's own country..
    nice to know that you liked it..
    nice pics too :)

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  36. Hi Sorcerer,

    Welcome welcome :-)

    Yeah a marvelous trip. Thanks for your comments. Keep coming :-)

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  37. hey hey hey MUJHE BHI JANA HAI WAHAN boooooooo hooooooooooooooo

    Ok I am crying now , why I spent so much money to go visit spain or france when I could have visited this place...

    Simply marvellous, fantabulous.... all i can say is WOW..
    You had a ball of a time .. I can see and read ... Excellente'

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  38. :-) You can always go there, I recommend you visit it at least once.

    I did have good time. Thank you

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  39. Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

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  40. Thanks much for your encouragement Anonymous. Will surely do :-)

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  41. In fact that is how life should be.
    Had been to Palai and stayed there for four days.
    What a change !!

    Lovely pictures.

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  42. Hi Haddock,

    Very true. Thanks much :-)

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  43. Good to know you had fun:). lovely place, and coincidently, we visited around the same time although i'm yet to post anything yet

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  44. Hi kish,

    Hope you had fun too. :-)

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  45. Wow.. lovely photos!!!!

    I wud love to visit Kerala!!

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I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!