A seaside vacation in Kerala

What image comes to your mind when the word vacation is mentioned? I know some of you might start conjuring images of summer vacations from childhood, good times with friends, cousins and all that. If you are one of those, I suggest you take a deep breath, empty your mind of all thoughts and start all over again. Wait! Don’t clear everything. Let us keep the summer part. Do you see yourself lounging on the beachside curled up with a picnic basket and a novel? Well – I do. Now, being a fellow Indian, you may ask me how many such vacations I have had. You are probably asking because you very well know the answer – zilch. Yes – zilch! The nearest I came was during a weekend trip to Greece during my summer internship. The sea was there, the sun was there, the book was there; an apple and some assorted biscuits doubled up as the picnic basket. It however ended up on anti-climactic note with the waiter of the hotel that had put the longue chair coming and asking us to clear out if we are not ordering anything from the hotel. See – now you have completely thrown me off track. I wanted to talk about  the second leg of our Kerala vacation, the more secular one, following the temple odyssey and  you have led me away to the Mediterranean. Anyways no more Greeks and Romans. Let me wave a magic wand to clear all distracting imagery and take you straight to the Cherai beach resort.

The resort was straight across the street from the seaside and had put up nice little cottages for the guests. My son was so overwhelmed at the sight of the resort that he felt the immediate need to relieve himself. Needless to say, we gulped down the welcome drink and rushed towards the cottages. Once there, I lounged on the bed in the room with my kindle while the little feller was literally getting all the dirt out of his system. So there you go – book, sun, beach, and longue – you have it all. Ah, yes! The picnic basket! It lay in the other room – the packets of biscuits, sweets and savories we had brought along. The added benefit of having it all indoors was that one could get one’s mobile phone charged as well.

Now, now, my dear reader I know you are all geared up training your guns at me for being a dog in the manger who instead of enjoying the scenic sea view, chooses to waste time indoors. Hold you horses, ok? We did go out into sea later in the evening, climbing down the safety abutment, fully armed with umbrellas to protect us against the vagaries of the fickle Kerala weather.  How I wish I was one of those travelers with that sensitive poetic disposition who breaks into tears every time he sees the sun set across the horizon. He would have waxed eloquent about all the lovely sights and sounds, bringing forth your emotions as well. But to my credit, I must mention my son who stepped in to make good his father’s deficiencies by not just weeping but wailing loudly bringing forth every ounce of emotion lodged inside his tiny heart each time the waves came close to his feet.

A brief sojourn to the city of Ernakulam was also part of our itinerary. Our Zen Master Car driver in his dry, stoic tone managed to convince us about the futility of the whole thing. So we decided to confine our city visit to an hour long walk along the marine drive gazing leisurely at the sea on one side and the shops on the other. It was a time of reminiscences for me about this city where twenty five years back I had shown the spirit of the warrior by fearlessly jumping off the first floor balcony while the little chip of the old block strained to break free of his constraints in order to emulate his patriarch’s feats of bravery. But the firm feminine good sense of matriarchal authority prevailed averting any acts of foolhardy male bravado that might have resulted in unfortunate consequences for the chip like it had to the old block two and a half decades back.

I hear you, dear reader – all this is ordinary stuff, you complain. Tell us something new and exotic, you implore. Or maybe you don’t. You probably have already got bored and left. But the heart of this attention seeking writer wants to assume otherwise. So I try to humor you with something exotic – a lady soothsayer in traditional Kerala white attire. She offered to unfog the mists clouding our future for a fee. But given our lack of the local language, we did not want our future to be lost in translation. So we decided to give her services a skip. Did I just hear a groan? Wait! I have some good news for you – I have changed my mind against continuing this post and boring you with the excruciating details of the Kerala massage therapy that I underwent during those two days. So here are the three little words that you have been eagerly waiting for – “It’s the End.”

For whom the bell tolls

A book of faces