The moment vacations begin, your heart starts racing with your mind, scanning the numerous destinations open to quench your wanderlust, somewhere deep down tickling the dreamy traveller in you. For bourgeois families, especially those belonging to the Indian sub-continent, the process remains the same each year. Each member gets busy with their respective sources to choose the best place for the all-year-awaited vacation as per their usually low-budgets. As soon as you get the tour package mail with all its excitement building details, almost magically the travel show host in you immediately gets alive and your life becomes a channel and looking perfect on it becomes the sole aim of your life.
One such traveller minus professionalism and Greek goddess body reside in me which I got to explore last year during my trip to the land of happy people, tanned crisp by the beautiful beaches, surrounded by still waters and coconut trees from all sides- Kerala.
I still remember the thrill each picture gave me every time I googled my destinations one after the other only to realise later how it left me bereft of my excitement once I actually reached there. I kept craving for the newness of those places which I had completely lost the moment I let technology invade natural bliss.
The strong flavour of coconut oil with its amazing qualities and the never ending variety of banana and their uses blew me away. Right from hair, down to your body to your kitchen, coconut oil is a perfect pal for all Keralites alike. While banana with its more than a hundred varieties got my eyes pop on to the very banana leaf, they served as a dish for my food. Do not mind the little exaggeration but it is worth it. Banana reminds me of my favourite snack which was another gift from Kerala, which is those lip smacking, pale yellow banana chips which are something no traveller can leave Kerala without. Talking of food, they also have this never seen variety of non-vegan delicacies to offer including rabbits and deer along with the much controversial beef. They also have an amazing range of sweet jams and lovely golden brown tea snacks to help you end your meal on a sweet note.
Being a foodie, I mostly have food to recommend from all the places I visit and so do I have for Kerala. One could not qualify to have been visited Kerala if one did not try the local cuisine of the coast in all its traditional form. One cannot resist clicking the colourful assortment of the food items ranging from several types of chutneys to papad, rice, banana sambhar and my favourite and the most unusual Pineapple Subzi. All served on the fresh banana leaf giving you all the organic feels.
Apart from the food they have these interesting little ways of preserving nature in its purest form which I noticed in the locals who till date follow the old natural ways of life which most probably is their secret to those healthy teeth and shiny black hair.
While the enormity of the dimensions of the backwaters of Alleppey took me by surprise, the hospitality of the houseboat gave me an experience of a lifetime. Returning to food which undoubtedly is my favourite topic, they served this extremely fresh and soft dish called Basa by the locals which had such negligible number of thorns. It was amazing to see a whole new world set up in that still water lake with houses floating amidst the vast stretch of water along with the different shops available at their respective spots. This wonderful set up was the moment of pride for me when my heart agreed in unison with my eyes whispering Incredible India in my ears.
Though monsoon is not the best time of the year to visit Kerala. Somehow, we got lucky as it worked perfectly during our stay in Munnar, the freezing hill station of Kerala. The cold winds freezing your rain-drenched summer clothed body ends up giving you an experience of a lifetime which no money could ever buy. Roaming about the winter struck streets of Munnar in my summer clothes brought me where its beauty really lies.
The evenly cultivated mountains covered all over in tiny green tea leaves laden with dew drops personify heaven for me. My ride on the huge elephant helped me get a closer look at this beauty of nature.
During the long travel hours, crawling on one-way roads, I managed to explore the breath-taking varieties of burkhas the state has and buy the traditional white saree with a rich golden border for myself. Teaming the saree up with the fragrant jasmine gajra and those ill draping skills, I managed to deceive a local person as well who mistook me for some fellow Keralite.
The spice gardens and the soothing massage made me feel close to my eternal home, in the lap of nature. At the end of the trip more than anything else, I was satisfied, thinking that at least someone is preserving the gems of nature and Ayurveda on behalf of all the fellow beings.
Lying in the hammock, tied from the tall coconut laden trees, letting the swift wind dance with my curls while the music of the sea waves roaring a few metres away from me soothed my soul. Not only this beautiful journey got me close to my inner self but also gave me an opportunity to meet my fellow Indians who are different, yet familiar.