26 February 2009

Kerala & Tamil Nadu pictures

Okay, here I go on one of my boring travel monologues again! At least I have pictures this time, so they can make up for the lengthy post that will go on and on.

First, as promised, pictures of our swimming forest deities :-) It's not a good picture, but that's okay because I have to be careful about protecting their identities..in case there's a blog-reading girlfriend or wife out there somewhere.
Our first day in Kannur was all about waking up late and hastily phoning reception asking to send someone up to our room to help us wear our sarees since we are both hopeless losers with them. Hectic, half-asleep, pins coming off, strings and threads and what not all over the place...
And despite all this expert help, I was unhappy the whole day because it felt like my sari was falling off. Yet I managed to go for a walk on the beach, get my feet wet, walk around a park for more than an hour, then climbed up and down a lighthouse, all with my sari threatening to come undone all the time!

I like this picture of a smoking Macavity and the groom. Looks all regal and the days-of-the-Raj type :)
Then it was Chambakulam, where all the hustle and bustle stopped, and it was all tranquility and peace and quiet and beauty all around. This is the cottage where we stayed -
Our regular morning traffic - no honking or screeching or burning rubber here!Macavity never smiles like this during breakfast. But here she grinned non-stop - through breakfast to dinner.
Our cottage owner lent us a canoe and a man, who rowed us out to the church, then up to the village market, then to explore the river. And this gallant rower of weak-armed maidens plucked me lotuses! I have been obsessed with lotuses all my life, I only ever see them from a distance, or in pictures. So just holding that beautiful lotus in my hands was exhilirating for me.We also befriended some locals, who invited us to dinner. We sat on the floor, ate with our hands, washed our hands on our dinner plates when we were done, and talked late into the night in this pretty little cottage of theirs.
This beautiful St.Mary's church was only about 5 minutes walk away from our cottage. And it was not tourist infested as the other churches I'd seen, and I could actually pray. It's over 500 years old, and the beautiful murals just take your breath away. (However, Macavity spotted a big painting of a cow and a dragon, and couldn't understand why they were there. I don't think I do either :))
You know what I loved more than all the other flowers there? The Indian Coral flower (Fartuah in Mizo)! For me, they're all about Mizoram and home and childhood. Seeing them blooming so raw and wild in the forest just tugs at and warms my heart and makes me want to cry. It makes me think of days that were good but will never come again.
Local women bathing in the sacred river Pampa -
Then there was idyllic Ooty - It bothered me that people thought it necessary to get tour guides and see all the usual tourist spots. They'd be aghast when we'd said no, that we didn't plan to get ourselves guides nor do we plan to see this or that. They didn't get it that when we have forests like these, we don't need anyone to show us what to do with our time.
So like the good travelers that we are, we veered off all the spots recommended to us by our hotel and our driver and our guidebook, and strayed into the forest, and watched and listened to birds and picked wild berries all day instead. We also ate every plant we knew was edible in the forest. And we ran into a couple of wild jungle fowls. Now isn't that far better than standing in line at some man made amusement park with hundreds of other tourists, waiting to buy tickets for yourselves and your cameras?

Keralite state buses have those really big windows, and you can't close them halfway, it has to be either fully closed or fully open. And the amount of grime and grit that gets on your face is NOT funny! So after my first ride and I swiped the first layer of dust off my face, I decided I had to wear my ninja gear on those buses. At all times. All worth it though for views like this -
Another obession of mine - cashew fruits. Ever since I first saw them some years back, I have always wanted to touch them and smell them and eat them :P And not buy them from a supermarket, but right under the trees. Pluck them out from where they hang so enticingly and bite into them. I mean look at them, aren't they just too pretty!
And the best thing about traveling is that you get to fulfil these little dreams on the way when you least expect it. I saw some local guys knocking cashew fruits off the trees, and asked the driver to stop. I jumped out, and these men welcomed me like they expected me! And it's amazing how much you can do when you can't even understand a word of what the other person is saying. They graciously offered me fruits they'd already plucked, and I also shamelessly picked a fruit from a particular tree (pic above) and they got it for me. They showed me how to eat it too - all without speaking a common language. They spoke only Malayali, while I tried to make do with English & Hindi. But we understood each other perfectly!
Another thing I love about traveling is meeting good people and to find them everywhere you go. People talk so much about the world being full of bad things and bad people, but I don't think it's true. I think mostly, human beings are g0od everywhere. You'll always have some that'll try to help themselves to your money or your things - camera, shoes, butts, breasts, but that's only a very small percentage of the population. No matter where I go, I see more people wanting to be nice and friendly to you and eager to help.We met these two men in the middle of nowhere town of Allapadi. I won't go into details, but they went wayyy out of their way to help us I just wanted to hug them. Traveling makes me thank God that He put so many nice people on Earth.

Another fun thing about traveling - doing things that are not part of the plan at all! The completely crazy, unprecedented ones but the ones that you will never forget. Like sneaking in to a tea estate wearing a tiara :-)And the time and place to ponder over useless things! We love Camelias, but we don't get to see these flowers often. So finding this big tree full of flowers was fascinating for us. We sat under it, looked up at the flowers, and got lost in our thoughts. And good thoughts. I thought about my mother, and how much I love her and miss her. I thought about my cousins, and how grateful I am to have them. I don't think these things often here in my busy, hectic life in Hyderabad where there is always work and it's always somebody's birthday, and there's always a dinner or a party or some other event to run off to and to keep you from thinking....Macavity believes Keats must have sat under a Camelia tree such as this when he wrote some of his poems. I can easily believe that too!

29 comments:

Moia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moia said...

Love the pictures you took, especially the ones of the trees and all...and you with the flower...hehehe...

Nags said...

I am SO homesick now.. :(

Shirley said...

Sigh so beautiful...I just had to comment! :) I can't believe we were there at some point so recently in the past but reading this, I miss it more

vana said...

mmmh..ka request chhuak e :). A nawm hmel ltk. LAwng chuan kha ka chak ve ltk.

Jerusha said...

Moia - Thanks! I love taking pictues, and trees, flowers, and myself are always my favotite subjects :D (you can see the deities better if you click on the pic and enlarge it, still not great but visibly enhanced)

nags - aw, sorry! But I hope it's a good kind of homesick :)

Jerusha said...

Shirley - It just seems like a vague memory now right? Work eats you up, and what happened just a week before feels like it happened years ago :(

Vana - Ka rawn sawm ve ngei ngei ang che kal leh dawn hun chu, lawng ah I chuang nileng zankhua thei ani mai :)

Sekibuhchhuak said...

In thlenna cottage hi nawm hmel khawp mai ! Perfect place.

aduhi said...

What were you doing wearing a tiara in a tea estate?? Looks like you had a great time, and I'm so jealous!

Jinx said...

I've been reading all your Kerela+TN travel posts but resists from commenting until I could see pictures (for proof naaa)....hehehe! Went to TN for the third time when I came back this winter.Like you, I just love (read 'lou';P) South India!!M sure glad to see that you had a fantabulous time there...

wonderboy said...

nangpui roh hi i zin kual nasa thei sia, nawm hmel bik eeee.... i kuli tur ang in min lo chhawr ve mai teh a :))))

luliana said...

I loooovvveee travelling!!!anywhere, anytime...nawm hmel khups mai.. :)

Almost Unreal said...

oii...siali-nu-hmm chu a va lunglen thlak vee

nohiddendepths said...

With all the pic overload, "I BELIEVE" that you went there :))

Jerusha said...

Seki - a nawm bakah a tlawm sia, a neitu te an fel sia, mahse ti nuam ber tu chu hotel ang, guest awm neih nuaih ani lo a a nuam ka ti ber.

aduh - tiara in the tea estate - long story :) If you can do with a little bus travel, it's quite affordable and easy to go there. You really must do a Kerala trip..

Jerusha said...

jinx - It seems everyone falls in love with South India :) Car-u's and Jeep-u's - it's too charming!

wonderboy - kuli tur hian ka chhawr ve ngawt che nga, I price hi I lo pe sang lutuk ang a, kan haw thei tawh lo ang a, Kerala ah in hlawhfak te te a ngai phawt vel ang tih a hlauhawm hehe

lulians - I post I update khat mah mah thin. Kan khaw lamah te lo zin ve la, kan lo mikhual ang che. Mahse kan nui nasa lutuk ang a hna kan thawk thei lo tih hlauhawm.

Jerusha said...

unau - awi siali a nih loh khiii! Nangpawh hi I buai tran riau mai! Siali te chu a sen a, a berry shape leh a hnah te pawh a dang alawm. Khi chu hmu trau an tia lawm.

zim - The intention was not to make you believe, but to make myself believe that I was there :)

Lucy said...

Awww..ka duh thei lo..Thingtheihmu!!!!

Got back from Alleppey this morning. What a wonderful, wonderful place. I thought the people were nice...and then I realized if you live in a place like that you can't be anything but nice. I missed your recommendation but glad I found a nice home stay. I want to go back already!

claytonia vices said...

Lovely! :)

You know how to enjoy a trip!

Vikram said...

Hey Jerusha, since you are in Hyderabad, and there's also the chance that you like brinjals, I just wanted to let you know about the first ever Brinjal food-festival in Hyderabad.

It is being organized by the Hyderabad chapter of my organization, AID, on March 8th, from 7 am to 8 pm, at Shilparamam Art Gallery. Here's the website, http://aidindia.org/main/content/view/784/1/

Sorry for the blatant advertising, but you are the only Hyderabadi I know. Please let your friends know as well. It will be fun !

Thanks,
Vikram.

mesjay said...

Lovely, lovely pics. Ooooh, Fartuah flowers, i love them - they set my heart aflame whenever i see them. But i didn't know the English name.

illusionaire said...

Eh I thought I already commented on this post... nge i delete daih zawk??? I'm sure I commented and said something about Tamilnadu being my second home etc... a va mak ve...

hruaia said...

engtik nge zin a..zin ve chak e..nalh hlawm khawp mai. i rawn leng phei dawn tawh em? film lam te chu...:)
Epis

Zaia said...

Lawng a mawi, ka chuang ve chak. Fartuah a mawi, ka lung a tileng ve..
Tlang - lung a tileng ngawih ngawih..
I love this line - It makes me think of days that were good but will never come again - so sweet and so true.

Jerusha said...

Luce - is that called thingtheihmu?? We call them hmu-tau (trau) - and Orpi calls them Mau-truah lol

Vikram - very nice of you, but I unfortunately can't think of one eggplant person. And I'm not one either.

clay - thanks. And yep, I'm an expert :P

Jerusha said...

mes - thanks! I didn't know the english name either, so even Macavity called them fatruah :) But I found a good book and did some research and voila - the Indian Coral flower!

Lalkim - dawt hi sawi I hrat ltk, internet ah tal chuan insum ve deuh rawh :P

@ Epis - Kar hmasa hmasa lam kha mi, hrechiang leh tawh lo. Lalsawmtea kha chaw ei ah min sawm ru ka ti char char a, aw a ti liam ringawt a min sawm leh duh lo a ka titau tlat. Film pawh khua a lum lutuk a a changtute hi an zawi der mai, mahse chawei a min sawm hun hun ah chuan kan in ready!

zaia - :-) Zin ve la nuam I ti ve dawn khawp anih kha, lungleng nachang hre deuh tan lo chuan a boring hma ka ring. Mahse keipawh ka thinlai ril a fan nasa thin khawp mai :)

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elvy Leivang said...

This has to be the first time I see a lady smoking with her saree on...lolz...thanks to shirley

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