I landed in God’s Own Country, Kerala, a few days back for a meeting with the team who manage my blog. Infynith, as they are called, put me up in the Park Central Hotel near their office. After our meeting, I and the team which included Shiju, Salman, and the boys strolled down the Marine Drive area of the city. Kerala is a green heaven and a coastal area popular for its Ayurveda, oil massages, herbs, spices and of course its seafood. I dined, walked and strolled around the city with my blog team. I enjoyed climbing up the Vypin Lighthouse in Puthuvype to take a panoramic view of Kochi. This lighthouse started functioning at Fort Kochi in 1839 and was shifted to Vypin Island in 1979.
Marine Drive was fun as we took a jetty to the seaport to get a glimpse of the great Indian aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. The two towering ships stared at us from afar showing off their intimidating size and strength. It was my first glimpse of these majestic beasts. While INS Vikramaditya was a Russian-made aircraft carrier that entered the Indian Navy service in 2013, INS Vikrant is the first aircraft carrier being built by the Cochin Shipyard for the Indian Navy. This giant aircraft carrier starting being built in 2013 and is estimated to complete around 2023!
I felt happy now as me and my team meandered to a local eatery for some lunch, full Kerala style. Rice, fish curry, and vegetables all served on a banana leaf. I gobbled up the sadhya with my hands in the local style enjoying the flavours of my cuisine.
Not only is Kerala the first communist state in India, it is also the first state in the world to win the general elections and form a communist government through democracy in 1957. E.M.S. Namboodiripad became the Chief Minister and laid rise to the root of communism that still runs deep here. People take pride in their communist ideals. It was only in the last elections that BJP won its first seat here.
I noticed that women of Kerala generally turn to become nurses or nuns and men fly out to Dubai to work as labourers on sites or as workmen on factory shop floors. The weather, although cool, is always a bit humid and the suburbs are littered with banana trees.
I, of course, could not leave Kerala without seeing Vasco da Gama’s Tomb, which has now been converted into a church. I am told his son came here after 14 years of Vasco da Gama’s death to take his father’s ashes back to his hometown.
My friends had said that I must dine in the Casino Hotel Wellington Restaurant when visiting Kerala and I did exactly that. With Shiju, the head of my blog team, I ventured into this exquisite dining place for a meal of fish, lobsters, and prawns as we chatted about all things from the downfall of Vijay Mallya and the Sahara Group to the philosophy of life. We even had a long conversation on South Indian films, especially about Santosh Sivan, the chief cinematographer of Mani Ratnam. The meal was a tad expensive as we drank a lot of single malt whiskey making a total bill of Rs 10,000. But with such delicious prawns and lobsters, it was worth it!
Kerala is well and truly God’s Own Country.