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Kerala: A strip of land called home

by on December 3, 2010

My last month visit to Kerala was truly a lifetime experience. Till date, my view point of the place was all a little negative and weird.

Yes, I was wrong.

Lying off the Malabar Coast, the lovely backwaters of Kerala are a harmony in green; palm-fringes, yellowish green banana trees, emerald paddy fields and all around the changing, shifting lethargic channels of canals and lagoons.

In the mid of all this waters, there are beautiful villages and towns, stretching along narrow strips of land, some of them just few metres across, where people have built their tiny huts and live their lives to the beat of the ebb and flow of the enormous tides of the vast Arabian Sea.

A day in a God’s Own country Kerala begins with a dip in brackish water while the washed clothes, placed on clothesline, calmly dries in the tropical breeze. Females share some early morning gossip while standing outside their tiny beautiful huts built in knee deep waters while children behind them march off along the narrow strips of land to the nearest school, white ribbons gleaming off swinging plaits.

All around, canoes slip off towards sea tides carrying fishermen to their daily jobs or women making their way to visit a neighbouring village. Any long journey means to wait under a red coloured flag for a National Waterway Boat No. 3.

People here are never alone. To accompany them is the nature everywhere; there are mudskippers, crabs, turtles in water and numerous species of birds flying high in the skies and sitting on trees. At dusk, I witnessed a whole tree taken over by a pioneer group of cormorants, all provoked and angry against a gleaming sky.

I came here for just two days, but ended up staying for a week almost. During my stay, I learnt to judge the time by the passage and direction of the sun via stormy sky. And as I stepped out of my Ketuvallam and started going away from Vembanad Lake, I felt that I was leaving behind a strip of land that I could call my new home.

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