31 December 2008

A trip to Kerala

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Happy New Year deeeer readers :) , here's wishing all your dreams ,hopes, aspirations come true! What did you guys do on 1st night? Me?Well, errm I slept.No, not 12.At 10.There's only so much of Ronit Roy dancing that you can take, no?

A lot has been happening that I haven't updated you on.One of them being a trip to Kerala.Needless to say , it was beautiful.Munnar has no specific place that you need to stop and take pictures of.Every bit of Munnar is breathtakingly beautiful.Now I know why all the mallus I know call themselves Keralites with pride.

Day 1:Munnar.
We had made reservations at the Royal Retreat.The hotel is situated atop the Kannan Devan Hills.The hotel itse
lf is very quaint ,picturesque and extremely clean.There is no specific place in Munnar that you can call scenic , every stop seemed straight out of a picture post card!
But oh! The food .. BIG PROBLEM.I thought I was being smart when I had listed down all the vegetarian joints in Munnar , only to find the Saravana Bhavan there is a fake one , and had not
hing to do with the original!And guess what happened at a restaurant the driver forced us to get into!
Seren to Waiter : Ermm can you please clean the table?
Waiter: "It is clean"
Seren:"No , it isn't.. there are rice grains all over the table cloth!"
Waiter: *Promptly takes out the table cloth with a sweeping gesture , dusts every
thing to the floor and puts it back with an Einstein expression on his face*
Seren: *Stomps to the door*

The drive from Munnar to Thekkady is just breathtakingly beautiful ... endless gree
n mountains , tea plantations , flowers in every possible color in full bloom , fresh air , and little waterfalls and dams tucked away here and there.It is precisely then that you ask yourself a question: What the hell am I doing slogging away my night and day in the 10th most polluted city in India, when all I needed to do was to buy a little cardamom estate right here by that nook, drink bad coffee, sip nice cardamom tea(home grown),have wild rice for lunch and call my Dad Achan.
Ans: The said estate would cost about 20 lacs and that doesn't even include maintenance and the fact that I have just one use for cardamom - In my tea.

Day 2: Thekkady
The Kathakali Centre day,the highlight of the trip.We were called one hour before the act so we could watch the artists dress up.
Altoid:"Whats happening Seren?"
Seren:*Hushes two american kids who dared to laugh at the 'artist'* "Can't you see? *Hushed tones* The artists are dressing up !"

The male artist(MA) finished with his green make-up and started to fervently tie a fat rope around his belly.The ticket issuer guy(TG) started to insert empty cement covers and rice bags under the rope.Ta-dah! This is what flairs are made of.
The artists:
MA : Male Artist
FA(Duh):Female Artist who is actually Male
The story:
This performance revolves around the story of Narakasura, a vicious demon and Jayantha, the valorous son of Indra (King of Devas). Nakrathundi, Narakasura’s sister gets attracted to Jayantha and approaches him in the guise of Lalitha, a beautiful woman. Jayantha rejects her love and the disappointed demoness takes her normal form and attacks him. He injures her and a shocked Narakasura vows to take revenge, only to find himself punished for his wrongs.
The performance commences to a very enthusiastic audience.MA quivers eyebrows , cheeks , nose,eyebrows and every quiver friendly facial part to show that he obviously is Narakasura.Meanwhile , Narakasura’s sister(FA) winks(??),raises eyebrows coyly,winks again,pouts with large orange lips,feigns a kiss and yes , winks again.I had expected Kathakali to be a lot different from Bharatanatyam , but for the life of me , I could'nt imagine even a demon's sister breaking into a majestic-hooligan-going-aie ice ice baby act.
Winking? Really?
Ok, FA was now prancing around the stage lustilly winking, quivering,shaking hips and winking all at once.She was in lowww , mind it.
My gaze shifts to MA , he is eh??? Adjusting his nails and his costume calmly..like oh where am i? Oh right, the stage.If u don't trust me , look at the pic on the extreme left.
I was getting rather bored with all the quivering when a diversion came in the form of a late comer.He calmly walked up to the stage and asked MA where his seat number was.MA stopped quivering , ushered him to the right row , walked back to the stage , put his feet up on the stool(prior to the diversion he had had one leg up on a rock), adjusted his flair and sword and continued quivering.From this angle , one of the aforementioned cement covers screamed out an advertisement for Coramandel Cement.I looked on in disbelief.
At the end of the 'performance' , the stage was thrown open to anybody who wanted a picture with the 'artists'.MA and FA quivered some more as the honeymooners hugged them and each other and said 'Cheese'.
I avoided Alto's smirking eyes on the way out and shushed my Dad rather loudly for wanting to come back for a Kalaripayattu show.
I was quite looking forward to the trip back to the 10th most polluted city.
Day 3:Thekkady
Periyar Wildlife Reserve.Altoid and I rented binoculars which costed about 100 bucks for two hours.The boat took off and I enthusiastically started scouring the lake with my binocs.Just then , a family of about 20 plus who were seated next to us went 'Bete bete kya karen , karna hai kuch kaam ..lallalala .. antakshari leke prabhu ka naam'
I set aside my binocs and concentrated on the yes .. of course!The honeymooners.Needless to say , we spotted no tigers.
Day 4: Allepey
We had rented out a speed boat for about 3 hours.And I must say , this was more soothing than the much touted Ayurvedic Massage that Kerala is well known for.While I'm on this I must tell you about this conversation that my Dad had with the driver who took us around.
Driver:" Seren and Alto , how about going to the ayurvedic massage centre"
Alto whispers to Seren: " Say no , that place looks shady"
Driver to Dad:"Achan(great , now the driver is our brother?), shall we go?"
Achan:"Sure , I've never seen a massage"
Seren:" Achan , you cant see a massage , its not like a museum tour.You need to get one"
Achan to Driver firmly:"Then , no"
Seren:*Makes mental notes to tell Mom about how Achan wanted to see a massage..hmm*
Ok , back to the backwaters.Alto enjoyed it the most , I think.She always has this list of things she wants to do and apparently the backwater tour was one of them.Really , I have no tongue in cheek comments about the cruise.It was the perfect ending to a perfect trip.
A lot of houses are situated either on islands or simply bang in the middle of the backwaters.. the people living there work on the paddy fields nearby and sell coconut water to the boatees(people on the boats:D).The boater(:D the guy who boatfied us around) stopped running the motor and our boat was generally bobbing around aimlessly.I looked around wondering at the life people led here, so different from the crappy things that I did back home ,so different from my world of incessant cribbing.

"Ipdiyum oru olaham irukuma?" (Like this also one world-a?)

6 scribbled back to “A trip to Kerala”

  • Sunday, January 04, 2009 7:50:00 PM
    Dhanya says:

    Yeh ippadiyum oru olakkam irukku ;)
    Me from kernel,but I am not sure how much authentic is the kathakali n all u saw.. In fact mastering it takes years (mostly in the range 10-20 years). On the pretext of tourism there are many half cooked stuff shown to tourists which takes away very essence of the art :( Same with massage. Btw did you stay in houseboat or just took a ride?
    Forgot to tell : Have a wonderful New Year :)

  • Friday, January 09, 2009 8:29:00 PM
    Serendipity says:

    Dhanya: :) I dont think it was authentic at all ..one of my friends told me that there are some real shows which are actually free.. ah but its ok , it gave us some laughs!
    All the houseboats were booked , we went during the peak time ,xmas ,we rented a speed boat..

    You too have a wonderful year !:)

  • Saturday, January 10, 2009 7:51:00 PM
    Dinesh says:

    Went to the same places you did now when I was in college. Needless to say food was a problem :-). That Saravana Bhavan was the only decent place! Because we had budget constraints, I was mostly eating at roadside joints.

  • Wednesday, January 21, 2009 5:56:00 AM
    Serendipity says:

    DD:I was quite sick of parathas and jain food at the end of 4 days , and the coffee was unmentionable :)

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