A Beautiful Tradition

Heard about a beautiful tradition practiced by many tharavaads (traditional homes) in the Kerala of a bygone era. The elderly lady of the house would ensure after dinner each night, that one of the younger women go near the gate & look around for anybody who may be in need of a meal.

She would then loudly call out in Malayalam : “Athazha pattinikar indo?” (“Are there any hungry people out there?”)

She would say this once or twice & in case there was someone hungry, they would be given food.

The family which practiced this would be known in the area so there would also be the regulars waiting for a meal.

It was only after this, that the gates would be closed for the night.

What a lovely tradition.

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Banana Paradise

So while in Kerala recently during the Onam festival, it was a visual delight to see the abundance of bananas on display everywhere I looked.

Shops were decorated for the festival.

Bananas outside. Banana chips inside.

Bananas everywhere.

Here a chip, there a chip, everywhere a chip, chip (just had to add this line owing to its lyrical quality)

Is it any wonder we Malayalees have mastered the art of making banana chips & it is such a massive industry in Kerala?

Photos below were of just one shop.

Onam in Kerala

H  a  p  p  y  ~  O  n  a  m

Last week it was great celebrating Onam  in Kerala.

It was a first time for me as a native of the state, to be here during the festival!

T’was also the reason I was missing in action in blogosphere.

Here is the traditional Pookalam or floral arrangement we all joined in to make.

Created with a  blend of various colourful flowers.

A ton of patience is needed for anyone partaking in this festive activity 🙂

Additions by enthusiastic family members –

Here is the Pookalam I spotted in front of a village tea stall –

Tug-of-war games seemed to abound in the village during the day of the festival.

Village kids seated atop a wall try & get the best view of the game.

Few are curious at the new faces passing by –

The post-box is still very much in use –

The green, green grass of home.

Balm to the eyes these paddy fields were –

As far as the eye can see, with hardly a soul in sight –

The green sea –

Straight Talk

There is something wonderfully innocent about villagers in India.

They lack the layers of pretension which has become a sort of natural clothing to many of their urban brethren. Having said that I’m an exception of course. Maybe that’s because I’m a villager at heart. Okay poor joke.

A villagers curiosity about who you are, where you’re from is unabashed & direct. Credential checking.

It’s amazing how interested they are in knowing key details…which their urban counterparts would generally refrain from asking due to being diplomatic, politically correct etcetera (not that urban folks are any less curious).

Questions you can expect when you visit a village in Kerala –

Who are you? Which house are you from? Who are your parents?

Notice there are no extra words to soften it with tact. And this is only the beginning.

In Kerala, for example a lot of importance is placed on the ancestral house name. We generally thrive off the illustriousness of our forefathers & the reputation they left us.

Talking to village folks with their candid style makes you realise that simple is good.

 

My Land – Kerala

Busy, crowded cities on the one hand ; villages,  verdant coconut trees, lush paddy fields, beautiful backwaters on the other.  This is Kerala in a nutshell for you. 

A variety of experiences beckon travellers here –  be it getting close to nature, staying on a Houseboat or just going for a leisurely cruise in the backwaters; a taste of authentic Ayurveda or indulging in the local cultural  fare.  

While here, be sure to try appam, stew & fried fish with fresh toddy, the local brew!

Last but not the least…respect our bountiful reserve of Coconut Oil. It’s mighty precious to us. As I referred in an earlier post (‘Why Smile?), it’s the reason for our shining souls. You get the drift 🙂

This is my land. Proud to be a Malayalee, so mind it I say!

Photos captured  from different parts of  Kerala – Palakkad,  Thrissur & Kumarakom

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