Tales of the Soulful Breeze

An exotic flower that bloomed every 12 years didn't surprise me... Read the full story
-Amrit George

 The Kurinji makes you feel like loving the world again

We look at each other, him with a confident smile and me with yet another resigned sigh.

Alappuzha might be famous for the visuals that its coastal life provides, but once we traversed the inner roads, the beauties its smaller towns hide are equally spectacular. I had discovered on the houseboat that the power of engaging in the routine of village life imparts a sense of serene peace that nourishes one’s spirit. The small towns, on the other hand, teach you to fortify the same. The houses, from picturesque huts to sprawling mansions, seem like extensions of the forests that they seemed to have been deliberately carved out of. The colours seem outrageous to the eye, with oranges, blues, yellows, and shades of pink whose existence I wasn’t aware of, bursting out throughout the ride. We stop at one place for pictures, but soon we realise there aren’t enough pit stops that’ll fit our schedule for each of these places. I ask M about it and he shrugs. The people love being bold, they love standing out. This place sees a lot of visitors, you know. And now I do know. This brand of individualism is surprising for a city-bred being like me, where everything seems to mould together in the skies. There is nothing grey here, the green and the bold is all you’ll find. The people are proud of their land and want you to feel the same wonder they do as they explore its depths. 

Pallathuruthy - Changanassery

Here we gently pass onto Changanaserry, home of one part of my ancestors, with certain memories of extremely dangerous bus rides slowly making their way to the top of the dome. I try naming a few places, in part-desperation and part-amusement, just to see if M knows any of these places. He doesn’t. He struggles, because all names in this land have bonds, and any decent Keralite has it in them to decipher and figure out the same. We first pass in front of imposing churches, with gigantic clock towers acting as a beacon of hope and strength to all believers. This is an area of much power and influence, M tells me. I look around, searching for the same senselessly, and he smiles. You can’t find it, he says, you have to feel it. Disgruntled, I turn my gaze again to the roads and see signboards for mosques and temples, each crafted in their own distinct styles. There are posters here of the actors of yore, advertising the latest budget phone, a movie abhorring the government and another one adoring its many moves. Everything seems to coexist in a balance. This is my first trip as an adult in this State. And with the world being the place it is right now, coexistence doesn’t seem natural at all. We pass municipal offices, interspersed with lush paddy fields and parks coming to life with impromptu cricket matches, small crowds jeering and cheering with equal aplomb the entire time. 

The ascend begins soon, M tells me. We stop at a vegetarian restaurant, part of a famous chain but not exactly the same, M swears, and we are immediately greeted by a table filled with holy men of the three main religions of the area. I ask the shy waiter if this happens all the time, and he informs me dutifully that they are regulars. This isn’t a photo-op, these people gathered here through no other compulsion except the desire to spend time with each other. People stop by the table to offer their respects, but most give them their space and stick to their own food. The filter coffee and veg meal combination of vada, idli, fresh coconut chutney and steaming sambar cannot distract me enough. I miss out on most of the flavour of the coffee as I wasn’t aware the tumbler that it was offered on is where it must be first poured into, mixed and then consumed. These are quirks, little nuggets, which make these places infinitely more beautiful to me. 


Tales of the Soulful Breeze

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