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Monday, 19 January, 2009

Revisiting Kerala!

So, I am back after a session of self regeneration and visiting some temples in Kerala.
For many Kerala might mean Backwaters (kayals), Beaches, Tropical Climate, holiday destination etc. while it means a lot more to me. Kerala in a few words would be Greenery, coconut trees, rivers and seas, beautiful and majestic temples, churches and mosques, set-mundu, GOLD and SILK (unfortunately its an eye sore for me. Malus seem to be obsessed a little lot over Gold and Silk. Print media, TV commercials and ever increasing no of branches of their outlets are the proof), schools, SPEED (Man! the roads are small in width but speedometer never goes below 60-80), Marxists, literacy etc.

I had visited Kerala after a gap of nearly 3 years. That's a long time for me! So has Kerala changed in the meantime. Well, Yes! and No! Power-cuts are still there but it was bearable as it was winter. Vehicular Speed and Overtaking is still the same and I imagine it inspires F1 racers. Where else would you see a car being overtaken by another, while it being overtaken by a third vehicle? All happening simultaneously on a thin but smooth road while you are coming from the opposite direction. You need nerves of steel to drive in Kerala! The Government is still the same oscillating between the Congress led UDF and Communists led LDF. Roads have improved and even the smallest of roads are better tarred than the ones in Mumbai. Buses, Cars, Autos and Trains are clean and beautiful. Well, I have seen this only in Kerala. Every day early morning the transport buses are washed and Sandalwood is applied. Compare this to the ST buses of Maharashtra!
Temples are more crowded and more houses have popped up in my native place. Old thatched roofs and walls have been replaced by aluminium roofs and brick/concrete walls. The old rice mill which was something not less than a wonder in my childhood days has disappeared and the village temple has a new perimeter wall. The Varna theatre still remains with no significant change at least from outside. Many Old faces are missing while many new ones have emerged.
Moreover I can read many signboards in Malayalam, though at a disappointing rate. I had wished to see at least one strike or hartal but to no avail. Seems like Kerala is changing for sure! Kids and teens wait for buses or walk the road to schools/colleges in humongous numbers that I have never seen in Mumbai. Surely, I could sense a feeling among the parents and kids as to how important education is!

Kerala is changing and that is a relief! It has changed my perspective of a lazy and politically incompetent kerala to one with hope!

So, I will begin posting from my next post as to how I spent and what I did in Kerala and what I learnt in Kerala.
Meanwhile you can glance at some of my kerala visit pics that I have posted in Flickr @
Till then,

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