Kerala diaries 1: The neighbourhood

It’s four days since I wrote my last post. I’m in Kerala with my husband’s family. We took a train from Mangalore to Kerala- our first train journey in 6 years. After 7 hours of chugging past stretches of paddy fields, meandering rivers, railway tracks, colourful homes, spotted cows, and people, we finally arrived here at 2.00 in the afternoon on the 21st of June.

Station in Mangalore

I’m writing this post at dawn while it’s still dark outside; it’s raining- I’ve been sleeping well here because it rains at night – the sound of the rains and the monsoon breeze is soporofic.

During the day it is sunny and the weather is pleasant allowing us to go on walks.

The changes in and around the countryside are subtle – nothing screams out at you but you notice it because it’s too beautiful to be ignored. There is green everywhere- there is more green than concrete – the ratio must be 20:1 at least- 20 trees per capita (it’s only an assumption but it could be a fact). And by trees, I mean fields, shrubs, every weed, vine and climber that grows here. There are enough trees for visitors too.

Each home in the area is tastefully built- with intricately carved doors, gardens with mango, jackfruit, nutmeg trees and an assortment of flowers to add color to the green: red hibiscus, pink roses, white lantanas, red pagoda flowers and yellow bell flowers. Each house has its own pebbled driveway, metal gates with gold tips and colourful potted plants hanging in the porch. You can’t help but admire each construction here. And yet, nature and man seem to be in complete harmony on this land.

The progress around the neighborhood is uplifting – after the depressing silence of covid and the bad news that’s thrown at us every single day, it’s good to see growth.

The local temple shows signs of transformation- a neat stone path now covers the courtyard making it easy to go around the temple and inside too there are changes. All this has taken place after the floods in 2018- when the village and many parts of the State had been affected badly. It’s satisfying to see that people have moved past it.

As I write this post, the sky has turned from dark to light. It’s not silent even at this early morning hour. The sound is that of the birds in conversation, squirrels rejoicing after a hearty meal of ripe chikoos, mangoes and jackfruit, the cat meowing for food, the crows warning it not to come near and the rooster calling. For a while when the chirping, twittering, and cawing of birds stops it’s still not silent- there is a constant buzz of crickets and katydids. But, it’s not maddening.

Though life is slow-paced here and it might feel like there’s nothing much to do, it never gets boring- nature provides the greatest entertainment. For instance, yesterday, we saw a rat snake in the garden but before I could take a picture, it went under a heap of fallen mango leaves around the cinnamon tree. The next thirty minutes passed in discussing snake facts- that they cannot hear and people in the area carry a stick and beat it on the road as they walk to avoid snakes- it moves away when it feels the vibration. Somehow, the topic moved to crows. And I learned that crows use one eye at a time to see. No wonder, it tilts its head to one side and looks.

Then there are the neighbourhood cats that pay a visit every day and there are fruits that need to be picked up- those that have fallen to the ground but are fit for human consumption.

Mom-in-law

Even as I write this post, I can see my mom-in-law in the garden picking up fresh mangoes – it’s for lunch today. My daughter had told her yesterday that she loved the curd-based gravy she had made for us on the day we arrived – so, she is making it for lunch today. Everyday is a feast of our favorite dishes. I see my mom-in-law and I think God bless grandparents. Thank God for this beautiful place we can return too every once in a while when the buzz of the city rings in our ears..

As the connectivity is bad here, I’m making this post short. I’m signing off for now. I’m going to do some meditation on the terrace- here’s a video of the sounds I hear as I meditate.

Wishing all of you a wonderful week ahead.

Cheers,

5 responses to “Kerala diaries 1: The neighbourhood”

  1. Sapna Avatar

    So well written i love to read your blogs when ever you travel I’ll be eagerly waiting to read your blog

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you, dear Sapna. It’s such a joy having you as a reader. Your words make me want to write more.

      Like

  2. Toonsarah Avatar

    What a beautiful lush environment! I love all the greens and the sound of the rain 🙂 And that visiting cat is cute too!

    Like

  3. VJ Avatar

    What an orchestra you hear!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      This was the sound of the rains. I’ll share another video soon of the morning sounds…it is as you said ‘an orchestra’. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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