Wednesday, 28 January 2009

In God's own country - 2

[Read first before this]

From the top of the light house, one fourth of the 360 degree view was occupied by the blue sea... The Arabian sea. We could see some little ships at a distance, and also a barrage that was constructed to make fishing simpler. The rest of the view around the light house was primarily filled with an endless sea of coconut trees. Not a single patch was free of the tall tree. Every inch seemed to be covered by them. It also answered my question - why were there no coconut vendors in that place. Every house had atleast five trees in their backyard. After taking some customary snaps, we decided to walk down. Walking down was a lot easier. Then we walked into the barrage area. The gate was locked, and there was a small prohibition board there. But Oh what the heck was our attitude, as it was a small town, and we went through the gate. We walked around a lot there. The sun blazing in the noon sky, imposing upon us his radiance, and it was one time I was not welcoming it. I felt it was sapping every ounce of energy from me. After walking for some time, we sat around and chatted for some time. Then five friends went ahead for a long walk, while my other friend and I waited around... Then finally we decided to wet our legs in the barrage water. We found clams all over the place. An endless count you can say - on every rock. We decided to pick them up and fling them into the sea horizontally to see them bounce on the water - *plop plop* they go... and finally my friends came back. We went home, four again (the car seats only those many) and guess what? The old man incharge of blocking (or allowing) people into the barrage is back. And he was a grouch.

Now the main problems we faced in Kerala were two - Language and Food. Only one of seven of us knew Malayalam. And one knew Tamil but could follow Malayalam. Rest of us knew other languages. I knew English, Kannada, Konkani, Hindi and Marathi. But the five languages seemed to be useless in that land of Malayalam. My friend told him we were new to that town. He said can't you read? This is prohibited. We said we couldn't read Malayalam. He showed us an English board. Finally we apologised. There was no reason for that area to be prohibited though. Nevertheless he asked us to get lost. We said we had three more people left. They were quite a distance away, and going back to call them would be difficult. So we decided to call up. And our mobile networks decide to freeze at that opportune moment.

So, four of us leave for the grandmother's residence with the other three oblivious of the fate awaiting them. Turns out they came there, and found the gate sealed with a large chain. The old man appears magically and offers a large repertoire of swear words in Malayalam. My friend not shaken, responds in Kannada. Now we had two people talking to each other without the other understanding a word of the the other. Finally a Rs. 50 note exchanged hands, and the old man opened the gate without even a whimper. I slept, and my friend's uncle who is a doctor asked me to take crocin. I had developed a fever by then. My friends were mostly worried as we were supposed to go a hike on the last day. And they felt I would not be able to do much because I couldn't walk much without panting... That night my friends went to the beach, and had their share of fun, I missed that part, as I was blissfully dozing off my worries in bed with crocin doing its share of work.

The next day, we hired a Qualis, and went to different places towards the South of India. We had almost reached Kanyakumari, away from it by merely 35 kms. We went to the Padmanabhapuram Wooden palace. A truly beautiful place, the palace shows several relics and artifacts, with wonderful stories about the kings from Travancore and their grand past. There were chairs and urns gifted by the Chinese traders, some wall greeting cards also given by the same group, paintings etc. given by the Europeans etc. The palace is huge, and fully wooden. There are several women periodically who give a small explanation about the place in Malayalam, Tamil or English - the language of your choice. I had tender coconut water before and after the visit to the palace keeping my water and salt contents normal, as I was not eating anything in Kerala. There was also a museum there which was really good. It had a collection of erapons, coins, paintings, statues etc.

1 comment:

Kavya said...

haha, quite an experience with the grouch. too bad you had to miss the beach. and i love the way you have compiled each and every part of your trip on the blog :D