Has anyone told you how difficult it is to write about your roots? I stumble for words every time I start writing about where I am from. My surname is a dead giveaway but a lot of people are still surprised when I tell them that I am originally from Kerala.
Over the years, I have met many foreigners and other Indians who are in love with this small state in Southern India. I have heard vivid tales of their experiences in Kerala and their fondness for Kerala. But I have realised that as a person from Kerala and who has even lived there briefly, my experiences are totally different. So that is why I decided to take you for a walk down memory lane in Kerala and introduce you to the Kerala Human by Nature concept through my memories.
Table Of Contents
- 1 A walk down memory lane in Kerala (Human By Nature)
A walk down memory lane in Kerala (Human By Nature)
Kerala is called God’s own Country and it is not very surprising to see why. The scenery, the food, the art forms, the religious harmony, the wildlife, the wellness retreats, Ayurveda, the rituals and of course the people of Kerala. Everything gels perfectly in harmony and that is what makes Kerala unique.
Find out my recommendations for Kerala.
Before we go any further, find out some of my recommendations for some tours in Kerala
A houseboat experience is a must while visiting Kerala
Munnar Tea Estates
Visit the famous tea estates of Munnar.
Best of Kerala
Experience the best of what Kerala has through this tour
Nostalgia and Kerala
As a kid, my early memories of Kerala was the yearly once visit to visit our relatives back home in Kerala. And we used to wait in anticipation. Not only to meet the grandparents who would turn every stone to pamper us including cooking all our favorite dishes. But also to go back every time to Africa after summer vacations with a bucketload of memories.
On being in touch with nature
As a kid, my favorite memory of Kerala was looking down from the plane. And all you could see was the greenery. Lots and lots of coconut trees. And when it comes to being in touch with nature, you are left with an array of choices. From beaches to tea estates. From the gorgeous backwaters to the enchanting waterfalls. From the wildlife to the hillstations. Kerala has it all.
Recommended: Waking Up to the sounds of Nature in Kerala
The Delicious Food
Last week, I made Pal Ada Pradhaman (A kind of milk pudding) using a ready made mix and I immediately started craving for Raman’s Pal Ada. Raman was a famous caterer back when we were kids and his Pal Adda was a staple during my growing years for every festival we spent in Kochi. A Sadhya (feast served on a banana leaf) is something you have to try when you visit Kerala.
Some lip smacking dishes from my childhood include Elayappam made with my Muthassi’s (Dad’s mom) love or my Ammumma’s (Mom’s mom) Kappa and Meen Curry (Tapioca and Fish curry back when I used to eat non-vegetarian food), my mom’s puttu and Kadla which I still make her make for me.
Above two photos by Sanu
The Fascinating Art forms from Kerala (Human by nature)
Most people who come to Kerala opt to watch the famous art forms like Kathakalli or Theyyam. Even though they are fascinating, I prefer the ones which have a community feel to it. Art forms like Thiruvathirakali (Featured Image of the cousin sisters performing at our Grandma’s 90th birthday) or Margamkalli or Opanna which is always performed by a group of women all dressed in traditional attire. Or listen to the Panchavadyam (orchestra of 5 instruments) at one of the temple festivals. If you understand Malayalam, then definitely go for some of the satirical artforms like Ottamthullal or Chakiar Koothu (pictured).
The Religious Harmony
As a kid growing up outside India, one of the things that kept me in touch with my roots was Kalamandalam (a group of Keralites working in Tanzania). And we used to get together for every festival and celebrate it together. Whether it was Onam or Christmas or Eid, it was celebrated with equal fervour. And this was the case back in Kerala. People live like humans here and in religious harmony with each other.
Everyone agrees that Malayalam movies are a class apart. And if you haven’t watched one till now, do watch it. But if you want to watch the beauty of Kerala, watch some movies which imbibes the landscape of Kerala like Kumbalangi Nights or Premam or even Karwaan (Bollywood).
Recommended: Houseboats in Kerala
The People of Kerala and their conversations
But the most precious aspect of Kerala are the people of Kerala, the magnificence of their lives and above everything else the conversations.
I have taken the train between Cochin and Trivandrum hundreds of times growing up and what I loved about the journey were the conversations. It didn’t matter if they were strangers but everyone had an interesting anecdote to share.
I once stayed with my best friend’s family in Thakazhy, famed for the backwaters of Kerala. As a city dweller, I was fascinated by how everyone knew each other and how they knew every aspect of my bestie’s life. Those connections however small they seemed were heartwarming to watch.
I went in 2017 as a guest among other bloggers and that is when I understood and appreciated the beauty of my homeland and how they strived to make every guest feel like a royal. I was the default translator and it was so humbling to see other’s perspectives of your land.
Just before lockdown started, we were in Kerala for Tharun’s treatment at a Kalaripayuttu center. The center was run by a father and 3 sons who all lived in houses near the center. By the time we left from there, the entire family treated as one of their own. It was funny how everytime they twisted his arm for treatment, they put him at an ease by talking to him like family.
Those moments are some of the many hundred interactions I have had with the people of my gorgeous homeland over the years.
And that is what the ‘Human By Nature’ Kerala global tourism campaign is all about. Check out this awesome video by the team behind the campaign
Kerala despite being a small state has everything to offer. But more than anything else, come to Kerala for the people of Kerala.
Find some recommendations for some guidebooks on Kerala
Guidebooks for India
Traveling to India and need more guidance on which books to read? These are our recommendations for you to read before you go.
Sponsored by Kerala Tourism. However all views expressed here are my own.
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