Kerala as a State of India is unparalleled in its scenic beauty as a state with its verdant slopes and hillocks. The villages do not end and one town is contiguous with another. Especially if one were to have been raised in the other states of India, where one village or town or city ends and the other begins, there would be a clear demarcation in terms of having lands with no houses between those villages/town/cities. But that is not the case with Kerala. A typical tropical region and having the coastal feel throughout with relative humidity higher than any other state.
This state has the highest literacy, as per the statistics put out by the CSO. It is also very common to see TODDY shops at an alarmingly short intervals while driving through the roads. I stayed in a town in Tamil Nadu very close to the borders of the state of Kerala. Had to take a flight from Thiruvananthapuram (the state capital of Kerala) and as i did not have much time, my driver took me through a route which is seldom used by people who traverse from Nagercoil to Thiruvananthapuram. He took me through POOVAR, which seemed like a valley surrounded by green hillocks with coconut palms, rubber plantation and other trees only home to the Kerala soil. The route from Poovar to Vizhinjam was absolutely breathtaking.
On this route i happened to see a place where there were a lot of taxis and auto-rickshaws parked near a TODDY SHOP. When i asked the driver, he told me that this TODDY SHOP owner had the licence to sell toddy/arrack/liquor in that area which was also abutting a fishing village. The owner of that licence had hired all those taxis and autos for giving free lift to people from that village to his shop and back. Once the customers are “fit”, they are ferried back to the fishing village or to the nearest bus station so that the folks could get back to their destination. Some MARKETING! No wonder one could find Malayalis in the HR departments and the management in plenty all over the country.
Kerala is a tourist’s delight with its backwaters, house boats, hillocks, shrines, and non-vegetarian food. It is nigh impossible to have a decent vegetarian meal in a small town. One could have beef fry and mackerel/ sardine fry for lunch in any diner in Kerala. The best food item i have had in Kerala was the PHAZHAMPOORI. This is batter fried banana fruit and one could keep consuming any quantity without realizing that one’s belly is already full.
The driver was cribbing that the TOURISM industry had fallen in bad times and that he was in no position to get fabulous tips from his foreign customers. On the way up, he had shown me a FROGLESS POND! When i was sceptical asked him if he had ever tried to check up the veracity of the froglessness of the pond, he was quite stunned. He said, “Sir, in Kerala except social issues nothing else is questioned. Everything else is to be BELIEVED or IGNORED. We believe that the MAGARA DEEPAM goes off at the appointed time every year at the Ayyappan temple, lakhs and lakhs of Christians believe that speaking in tongues is sine-qua-non for being caught up in the SECOND COMING of Christ!”
He further continued, “If the pond is with frogs, what could i tell the foreignors and impress them with? So i have to engage those foreignors in small talk and i love to believe that story, and i fill my pocket with tips.”
TRULY GOD’S OWN COUNTRY, but which has bred a lot of un-toiling people. They seem to be lazy and enjoying the natural vacation granted by God. God bless Kerala.