Friday, June 17, 2011

A quick trip to Kerala

Had been to Kerala (South India) to attend a funeral.

Getting tickets at short notice is a big hurdle (and it gets compounded if it is holiday season)

Finally managed to get a direct flight from Mumbai to Calicut. (Kozhikode) From there proceeded to Kanoor by road (a three hour journey)

This is my first trip to the northern part of Kerala and even though I was concentrating on the fact that I should reach my destination before the burial takes place, I couldn’t help notice that this part of Kerala is really beautiful. I wonder why there is no development as far as tourism is concerned.

The drive was almost along the sea coast and it was so beautiful with the high waves on the left side and lush green trees on the right side (especially from Thalaserry to Kanoor)

Due to some traffic jam in the city side (locally known as “block”) we had to finally drive straight to the cemetery.

Some times things don’t happen the way we plan it.

For a long time Tomy (my cousin who expired) had been calling me to visit him from the time he moved to Kanoor. I kept postponing the visit as it was almost eight hours from Cochin by train. Just last month I was planning to make a trip to Bangalore and drive down from there to Kanoor to meet Tomy and his family, but due to some reason I shelved that too.
The last time I met Tomy was when he called on me 9 years ago at Alleppey.

I don’t click pictures of the deceased as I like to remember them as they were when they were hale and hearty.

Tomy was buried in the same tomb where his mother was buried.

This is his mother’s cross which was removed temporarily to lower his casket.

Had to get back to Cochin as our return flight was from Cochin to Mumbai. Some of the family members were going back the same day to Alleppey (Alepuzha) by the overnight train. No reservations, no berths. So we too just purchased tickets and hopped into the unreserved compartment. Managed a few winks in the 8 hour journey (that is when we got place to sit after standing for an hour)

What a contrast between the night travel in the unreserved compartment

. . . ......... and the morning travel by flight.
The next day I freshened up at my uncle’s place at Alleppey and left for Thiruvella to meet one of my aunts who is in an old age home.

Was she happy to see me? She scolded me for not sending her the Birthday card which I used to send religiously for the last 20 years. I apologized and told her that I will be sending the Xmas card followed by the B’day card (her B’day is on Jan 1st) She told me that Onam is a big celebration in Kerala. I got the hint. So it will be Onam, Xmas and B’day card from now on. Maybe I can add one at Diwali time too.
(the problem is that I cannot write Malayalam and she cannot read English. So I make up by sending colourful and flowery cards with a few broken sentences in Malayalam)

From there proceeded to Cochin via Kottayam meeting more relatives on the way.

The view along the way was great with some places posing a challenge with water from the nearby paddy fields overflowing on to the road, but our driver was very cool and drove through.

And then there are these roadside shops selling fresh vegetables and fruits.

At Cochin we had a feast on the Chakka and Manga (Jackfruit and Mangoes) Unusually the Jackfruit were plenty this time on this tree and it was being liberally distributed to all those who came home.

© Photographer: Joezachs | Agency:

Noticed that most of the coconut trees had coconuts which had surpassed their plucking time. What I gathered was that the specialists who climbed the tree are demanding high labour charges (something like Rs 25 + 2 free coconuts per tree) which makes it a costly affair. But on the flip side, leaving them on the tree is a potential safety hazard too.

Got to drink Chambanga wine , the best wine I have ever tasted. (Chambanga is Rose Apple)

Sebu uncle, who made the Chambanga wine was good enough to pluck some nice raw mangoes for us to take back home.

One of the delicacies that was served to us was the Karimeen. I was impressed by the way each fish was meticulously cleaned and cut and had to click it before it went into the curry pot.

Got to see more realtives along the way.

To end on a colourful note, there were these umbrellas  displayed at the Cochin airport.


Tomz said...

Hello Haddock,

Nice to hear from you again..

Happy that you were enjoying in Kerala (not forgetting the separation from your cousin)..

And happy to learn that you work for Dreamstime.

Happy to see the photographs of the things, which I usually see here, but your clicks attributed to them all a nostalgic charm..

Daisy said...

I'm sorry to hear about the death of your cousin, Joe. That sounds like it was quite a long trip. I'm sure it was nice to spend some time with family members who you don't get to see very often. I enjoyed your pictures and the story you told along with them.

Mrs Newlywed said...

Love, Love Love your blog! the pictures are captivating. I might put Kerala on my travel plans in the near future. You are the second person i have noticed with such beautiful and natural pictures of kerala.

Anu said...

Beautiful pics..... esp loved those about the difference in modes of travel... we had quite a few such experiences too this time, though i neglected to take pics!

Harman said... sorry to know about your cousin...its long since we saw any of your post..but this completes the backlog...such a beautiful place and some fresh fruits to see.. its like seeing kerala
thanks for sharing.

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Kerala has lots of pleasant surprises for her visitors. Glad I was there last year.

Peggy said...

So sorry to hear about your loss... but it sounds like you got to see some family and have a little adventure on the way =)

Rachna said...

Sorry about your loss. You have posted some great pictures. I have been to Kerala and this post brought back memories of this beautiful place.

anilkurup said...

Fortunately Nature has bestowed abundance of beauty in the landscape of Kerala, that there is still a lot left. Know not for how long.

Brian Miller said...

thanks for stopping in today..sounds like you had quite the journey...i am sorry for the circumstance that caused looks as though you were surrounded by beauty though...

happygirl said...

So sorry for your loss. Thanks for looking at my place. I'm honored. Your pics are beautiful and the wine looks very good. I'm glad you were able to do so much on your trip. :)

Bikramjit said...

SO sorry to hear about your cousin.

as you say life is such we cant get to meet , I know what you feel me being so far away I have been a idiot visiting india twice or thrice a year but spending the time here and there and not meeting ones who are important..

kerala is beautiful .. loved the pictures you put ..


Nisha said...

I'm sorry to hear about the death of your cousin. I like that it was nice to spend some time with family members who you don't see often.

Your pictures are quite good.

rama said...

The pictures and the description are perfect.I liked the pictures of Jack fruit and mangoes both my favorites. I also liked the way you mixed the sad with beauty of the place, and the irony of finally seeing the most loved person only after his death.
Kerala is favorite destination for everyone for as they have rightly said it is "God's own country"!!

Gorges Smythe said...

Please accept my condolences on the passing of your cousin. It sounds like you managed to have a good trip, despite the unfortunate reason for it. Thanks for commenting on my blog, now I know who it is in India that checks in occasionally.

Dr Varsha Singh said...

Hello Haddock,
Thank you for visiting my blog!
I am first time in your blog....Very nice expressions of an enlightened heart.
I'm sorry to hear about the death of your cousin.

Have a blessed and wonderful day!

Jinksy said...

Thank you for your armchair travelogue this morning! Your photos made it a fascinating journey.

LDH said...

Hello Haddock,

Sorry for the loss of your cousin. Enjoyed the trip to visit your relatives. Remember to send those special cards to your aunt :) I am sure she has sweet memories of you as a child and growing up.

Very much enjoyed seeing the photos snapped during your trip.

Kindly, Lorraine

Joseph Pulikotil said...

It is very sad to read that you had to go to Kannur on account of your cousins demise.

The photos are lovely and I enjoyed reading the write up.

Best wishes,

Julie Harward said...

Hello, thank you for your visit. You have a nice blog, come say hi any time :D

Sneo said...

hey. nice blog.
i like the way you brought in Tomy's episode and then switched to the happier grany episode :)

Thanks for visiting

Purba said...

Made for an interesting read and it helped that Kerala happens to be one of my favourite destinations.

rahul aggarwal said...

Kerala was always void of mordernity!!!

ive been to Alleppy and Munnar and was completely taken over by the kind of rich but orthodox cultural and traditional view that holds kerala together...i just love going there and being there!!!

enjoyed your post Sir...and i would just like to say may Tomy soul RIP!!!

Valerie said...

Hi, popped in to say thanks for visiting my blog. I think this post is really interesting. Best wishes.

Haley | Girl About the World said...

Very sorry to hear about your cousin. I enjoyed the photos and especially liked the story about your aunt who wants you to send more cards. :)

Felisol said...

Your post is more like an entire book. So rich and enlightening.
Thanks for sharing.

Annie said...

I very much enjoyed my travels with you Haddock. So much here that is universal to all of us - roadside produce, flooded roads, billboards, beautiful fruiting trees, and happy family faces even as you celebrate the death of a loved one. Thank you for stopping by my blog and opening the door to your beautiful world.

Haddock said...

@ Tomz
Yeah was busy with lining up some other issues that I did not realize that its caused such a big gap between posts. Yeah we see these fruits day in and day out when we are in Kerala but rarely stop to admire the beauty of nature and its creation.

@ Daisy
Very true. It was good to spend some time with the old folks back home.

@ Mrs Newlywed
Oh yes do come down to Kerala. It’s a must visit place in India.

@ Anu
I think all should experience the different modes of traveling to have a feel of the ground realities.

@ Harman
The best time to visit Kerala is after the monsoons.

@ Keats the Sunshine girl
You are welcome again.

@ Peggy
Oh yes, it was an adventure for 3 days !

@ Rachna
One of the reasons why people visit this place again and again

@ Anilkurup
Yes so far not much damage is done and lets hope it remains that way.

@ Brian Miller
Surrouded by beauty is the right word.

@ Happygirl
Yes the best wine (I usually don’t take wine) Maybe next time I will try to make it myself.

@ Bikramjit
I think you should mix the two in your next visit (meet people and see places)

@ Nisha
Thanks Nisha

@ rama
Unfortunately its not economical to cut and sell the jackfruits in the market. So it just stays on the tree till they fall off.

@ George
Oh yes we do browse around and read through some good posts.

@ Dr Varsha
Most welcome here. Do come again J

@ Jinksy
Armchair travel ? I think I should take up for regular armchair travel sites.

Oh yes I have already stacked up the cards (and some copies of the photograph with her)

@ Joseph
Thanks Joseph

@ Julie Harward
Yes will visit you again.

@ Sneo
I don’t like to dwell on sad things. Life is short and we should move on.

@ Purba
Most welcome to kerala again

@ Rahul Agarwal
Alleppey and Munnar are one of the best destinations in Kerala. Do come again.

@ Valerie

@ Haley
Oh yes my aunt – she is very smart. She did mention how “Cashew nut” got its name.

@ Felisol
Thanks for that. Maybe one day I will write a book.

@ Annie
Very true. You scratch a little and under the surface its all the same, no matter which country one is in. The same travails and the same happiness.

Akelamalu said...

It's a shame that the reason for your trip was to attend a funeral but you did get to see some beautiful countryside and relatives so it must have cheered you a little.

Thanks for visiting me and taking the time to comment. :)

Kiran Bajaj Sawhney said...

The way you weave your blog post along with your amazing pictures is so good. It is absolutely like experiencing the whole journey with you.

Lisa said...

What wonderful pictures of your beautiful country! You take such interesting shots. I felt as though you took me with you! I'm so sorry to hear about our cousin's passing but I'm glad you got to spend some time with your family.

Ram Pyaari said...

very interesting pics which give a very interesting sneak peek in to the state

Gattina said...

In a few years there will certainly be tourists there too ! Looks like a beautiful place. Funerals also have their good side you meet family and friends you haven't seen for a long time.

Casuarina said...

Sorry I've missed so many blog posts but thanks for this one...I just began to clear the backlog and fell in love with your blog all over again !

Mahon said...

Interesting post and beautiful photos ! I liked :))

Bye, Mahon**

Indrani said...

Those fish! I am imagining the fried versions. Mmmm.... Nice series of shots. I like your cheerful aunt.

shooting star said...

some interesting images with an flowy narration..reminds of my holidays in west bengal when we have to visit relatives and in process of doing so, get to visit lots of places also!!!

sad to hear about the death!!

Thérèse said...

Quite a trip I must say! And certainly filled with emotion and new resolutions.
Never tasted any jackfruit and never seen any... perhaps simply because I don't pay attention to things I never saw or never heard about...

Quay Po Cooks said...

Kerala looks like place worth visiting. You got some lovely pictures there. Sorry for our lost of your cousin.

T. Becque said...

Interesting views!