Archive for the ‘Bon Voyage’ Category

“Along The Maze of Backwaters !”   7 comments

One of the many meanders along river Pamba. The river banks these days have another contender jostling for space alongside the swaying coconut trees: Concrete. These days, eulogies narrating Alapuzha to be verdant can be put to test with ease ! We chose to freeze this stretch since it had managed to stay away from concrete !!

One of the many meanders along river Pamba. The river banks these days have another contender jostling for space alongside the swaying coconut trees: Concrete. These days, eulogies narrating Alapuzha to be verdant can be put to test with ease ! We chose to freeze this stretch since it had managed to stay away from concrete !!

 

Pamba rarely flows alone. She always has companions sailing along her. The illustrious companion who has strolled into the imagination of the tourists is the all pervasive "House Boats". This illustrious escort of the tourists is an unmistakable sign of changing times in Kuttanad.

Pamba rarely flows alone. She always has companions sailing along her. The illustrious escort who has strolled into the imagination of the tourists is the all pervasive “House Boats” and is an unmistakable sign of changing times in Kuttanad.

 

Roads came along with development, tearing across the hearts  of the verdant paddy fields, making it easy to transport the grains post the harvest. What was hitherto a backbreaking task became a cake walk of sorts now!  The enormous boats of yesteryears were on the verge of becoming obsolete but for the ingenuity of the natives. What shifted mounds of grains back in the yore got a facelift and started transporting tourists!!

Roads came along with development, tearing across the hearts of the verdant paddy fields, making it easy to transport the grains post harvest. What was hitherto a backbreaking task became a cake walk of sorts now! The enormous boats of yesteryears were on the verge of becoming obsolete but for the ingenuity of the natives. What shifted mounds of grains back in the yore got a facelift and started transporting tourists!!

 

Many state owned boats ply along the maze and was the mainstay for the people till yesterday. But the advent of roads piercing the paddy fields have relegated them to the background. Some even call in anachronistic !!

Many state owned boats ply along the maze and was the mainstay for the people till yesterday. But the advent of roads piercing the paddy fields have relegated them to the background. Some even call in anachronistic !!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Posted October 29, 2014 by Aneesh in Bon Voyage, Shutterbug

Tagged with , , , ,

“When it rains”   19 comments

Monsoon in Kuttanad, Kerala.

The time when nature comes alive, raining down from heavens, breathing life back into barren lands, lazy rivers, trickling cascades, hungry ponds, and in its wake bringing forth the lost hues of the verdant green and creatures great and small. When the Monsoon rhapsody escalates, one can easily slip back into the sit back and relax mode, breathing in the irresistible petrichor while sipping in a cup of Kaapi or two staying within the comforts of a blanket.

But there is more to Monsoon than what meets the eye ! For out there, a struggle is on for survival encompassing all and sundry. The banks struggling to contain the deluge, migrating fishes striving to outwit the nets, the loquacious frogs trying to evade the stealthy snakes, the saintly storks and swooping kingfishers sealing the fate of edgy fishes, survival is at stake for everyone.

Embodiment of Spirit of survival !!Survival of the Human Spirit !

A commoner is out there, on his tiny vessel, waiting under a makeshift shelter seeking reprieve from the unceasing rains ! He has nothing on the vessel barring the oar and a sack of cement apparently to plug one of the leaking walls in his tiny abode discovered at the eleventh hour ! The wait is getting prolonged, revealed by the looks heavenwards translating into vehement sighs, since the downpour has put a spanner in his works ! The sail ahead, through the choppy waters would be strenuous. Just when the truant sun appeared for a glimmer, reducing the downpour into a drizzle, the mighty SURVIVOR set sail again pushing his oar forward with all his might ! As he disappeared in distance, the skies again turned pregnant with rain clouds all set to unleash its fury with renewed vigor.

Surviving in the maze of backwaters (read Alapuzha) for the commoner is a struggle ! This hits the crescendo with the advent of monsoon every year. Nevertheless, combining numerous frugal innovations of the people (JUGAAD) and the government back up, the odds have partially turned even. But, just when you think your fortress is impregnable, she lets you know who is in command the next moment !!

This picture was captured during the temporary reprieve from lashing rains when the mood was light .

Posted October 30, 2013 by Aneesh in Bon Voyage, INDIA, Shutterbug

Tagged with , , , ,

“Woods are Lovely, Dark n Deep !”   26 comments

Stopping by the woods.

Another pilgrimage in search of Moksha lead us to Sabarimala located in Pathanamthitta, Kerala.  When the journey entered the ERUMELI – CHALAKKAYAM – PAMPA phase, the desperate break from the mundane that we all searched for had arrived.

Spreading a veil of morning mist over the road ahead, Nature was playing hide and seek with us. Journey came to an abrupt halt when the driver could no longer negotiate the winding roads owing to thick fog. Amidst the Bhakthi filled milieu inside the Van, we could all recognize the pangs of our muscles desperate for a stretch or two. Giving respite to the unceasing chants, we took a Kaapi break despite the low visibility.

This was the moment when nature turned the tables on us. Slowly but steadily she dropped her thick veil and revealed her magnificent self though for a fleeting moment! Laid out on each side of the road were green carpets on which stood majestic trees surviving the test of time, under whose shelters thrived tiny plants and beautiful flowers !  Every part of this stretch was a potential picture post card !

When this beautiful scene unfolded in front of us, all we could say to ourselves was – Carpe diem ! For a moment, we forgot about the extended halt and the rest of the journey ! Before the moment could fly away, we tried to capture it as best as we could ! And the next moment heavens opened ! We continued our journey in search of Moksha but felt as if we had attained it halfway through !!

Indeed – The woods are lovely, dark and deep ! But we had promises to keep. -Robert Frost

“The Lone Abode atop a tiny hill.”   12 comments

The Lonely Abode atop a hillEvery turn you take in High Range, Kerala throws up many surprises. You may discover things ranging from pristine cascades, weather weary rocks, creepy valleys, avian friends, tiny creatures and ill tempered tuskers over the course of your journey. When the road snaked through a nondescript village, inhabited by tea plantation workers, I discovered an isolated abode devoid of all charms but leaving an everlasting impact on me.

Years have rolled past since but I still imagine the way of life in those quaint little villages where life is a long lasting struggle but one can still live life in slow motion amidst nature’s orchestra.

 

“Tusker in throes !”   4 comments

Caparisoned elephants has become a precondition for festivals in Kerala. However, there are no uniform standards for treating pachyderms which leaves a lot to be desired.

Caparisoned elephants has become a precondition for festivals in Kerala. However, there are no uniform standards for treating the pachyderms which leaves a lot to be desired.  (Pic by appu)

Another festive season in Kerala. When I saw him first, under the shadow of a tree by the corner of a school ground, he was in the middle of an afternoon break. Realising that his mahout was not around, we took some snaps for which he posed magnanimously.  Without further ado, let me just draw your attention towards the stick resting on him. The “STICK” symbolises a weird deal between the mahout and the elephant. The details of the deal go like this:

The mahout often leaves the scene apparently to take toddy breaks which may run for many hours. Whenever the mahout is to leave the company of the elephant, he leans a stick on the elephant and departs. The elephant on its part has to make sure the stick doesn’t fall or take a different position. He has to limit his movements according to the rules of the deal. Luck was not on his side today because the stick deserted him and kissed the ground moments after the mahout left the scene. What followed were frantic attempts to pick up the stick but to no avail. His restlessness grew by the moment and reached its crescendo when the mahout appeared in the horizon like a speck.

The mahout, as he proceeded forward, looked at the fallen stick in disbelief. Gathering his Dutch courage, the mahout charged forward brandishing a deadly cane. Shouting the name of the elephant, the mahout started thrashing him with no mercy. Cries of the animal filled the air. The second in charge came running and intervened thereby preventing the conflict from escalating further.

I, like many others could only stand as a mute spectator to the whole event. Even though many registered their protests with the temple authorities, the latter washed their hands off reasoning that they were in no way responsible for the mahout’s behaviour. The above was one among the many cruelties suffered by elephants in Kerala. This is the norm; nevertheless, there are a few good exceptions. Hopefully, may the few good exceptions reign over the prevailing atrocious norms in the coming years!

%d bloggers like this: