Thursday, February 28, 2008
God's Own Country
Winters are on ebb and the spring sowings are waiting to bloom. In the absence of anything more exciting in the garden, I invited my hubby, fresh from the memories of his trip to south India, to write a post on his experience.. "There is something very amusing about living in a big country like India as I realized first hand when the opportunity to visit the southernmost part of country came my way. My job took me to the southern states of Kerala and GoaKerala is nick named ‘God’s own country’ and rightly so, as its natural scenery, backwaters, sprawling coconut trees and crystal clear beaches make it a near heavenly abode. Sea has always enamored me and this sojourn through the backwaters was Godsend I was quite surprised by the contrast southern India had in respect to where I live; it was like descending on a different civilization altogether. The weather was very hot and humid in contrast to the cold wave haunting us in North. Another difference, as I shamefully admit, was the exemplary cleanliness and discipline in the lifestyle of South in contrast with the chaotic North. The place abounds in coconuts and as generally happens locals devise ingenious ways to put the surplus to good use; these cute simians are made from sculpting a whole coconut; one can even hear the gurgle of the coconut water on shaking them! Southern India falls in the Tropical zone and the lush greenery testified to the equatorial climate of the place. Difference in weather was evident from the trees laden with unripe mangos, which do not appear before April on trees in North. Shortly after getting acclimatized to the changed weather conditions my tour took me to Kanyakumari, which is the southernmost point of Indian mainland A 15 min ferry ride took us to these two small pieces of rock, which may loosely be called Islands, although they are woefully small to be called so. It was here that the great Indian scholar, philosopher and thinker Swami Vivekananda meditated in his final days and hence the rocks are named after him as Vivekananda rocks. In its final step the tour came to Goa, a place which was a Portuguese colony till as late as 1961 and was acceded to Indian Union in that year. There is a distinct Portuguese influence in the culture and ethos, and that’s exactly what I loved about the place; a testimony to the fact that an amalgamation of various cultures facilitated by the migrant population makes a place very interesting and livable. This Temple, Shantadurga, although a Hindu temple, has a church like façade and it aptly illustrates the influence Portuguese have had on the life and customs of Goa. Crystalline beaches dot the whole of Goan boundary alongside the Arabian Sea and the whole place appears always to be in a festive mood; there must be something related to the aura or to the vibrations being emitted by the jovial people there, that as soon you step on Goan soil you can feel a light and happy feeling inside. All this Sun, Sea and Beach Sand made me yearn for a sedate life near the Sea, but not before I have fulfilled my earthly obligations…not before I have collected enough memories to reflect upon in those sedate days..."