“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Season of Change

Ask any Malayalee ( I don't like the term, 'Keralite' – as if we are kind of elite) about the best season home – to the majority it'd be the New Year season of the Malayalam era, the begining of the month of Chingam, that falls in mid-August. That's the time we go on a spending spree, sellers vying each other with 'offers' and freebies. The climate is pleasant and would be so till Jan - Feb. The festive season. It has been commercialized ad nauseum. Like a streetside hooker, we sell Kerala to the tourists who throng the land. The beaches, backwaters, mountains, Onam, the boat races – oh, by the way- I have been transferred from home (Trivandrum) to Alleppey/Alapuzha, the land of boat races and backwaters. Got to report on Tuesday, the 16th of August.

I was due for a transfer, but I had secretly hoped ( but never believed) that I would be posted somewhere nearer home, somewhere commutable daily, considering my age and seniority. But the Highnesses thought otherwise. Trivandrum – Alleppey is about 3 and a half hours journey by train, less trains in that route, and bankers no longer work 10 to 5 routine; most of us work late. So, commuting daily to Alleppey is out of question. P will have to be alone; rather, with Sancho and Sally. Fortunately, we have a maid who has temporarily agreed to stay the nights. It is a touch-and-go situation, but - Forward Ho! I have to resist negative thoughts, refuse to look at the disadvantages, the inconveniences of this shifting. I think of the lesser privileged and comfort myself, convincing myself that things could've been worse, they could've posted me farther away. I think of friends in foreign lands, the soldiers in Ladakh, those who had to forsake the comforts of home for survival.

I sniff the air, and feel the change of season. For me though, it is a season of change. I do not resist, I let the tide carry me. I sniff the air. I hope that like my soujourn in Kottayam a few years ago, which was one of the best seasons in my life, Alleppey too would welcome me. On days I cannot come home to P and Sancho, maybe I will roam and explore the old town. I might ride a boat into the backwaters, drink toddy and eat Duck roast and Fish Fry. I might take photographs of that beautiful land, Kuttanad and the vast Vembanad lake and backwaters. There might be new temples to peek into, for their exotic murals or carvings. There will be old beautiful houses to gape at and be awed. There will be the breeze that sweep in from the lake. There are new, strange, mysterious smells wafting down. I sniff like Sancho.

But - I have to watch out for the mosquitoes of Alleppey and - Filariasis to boot!!!
********** Balachandran V Trivandrum 14.08.2011


  1. Yes you have to beware the "flying Draculas'"!

    But less seething and cacophonous than Thpuram .

    One could wander out into the lake and revive sagging spirits.
    Good luck and enjoy some bliss.

  2. Some great photos and a great spirit to explore and look at things. Good Luck


  3. I am sure you are going to love the change,may be minus p and her being alone..Of course there are nicer things,terrific fish curry,kappa and whole lot of things at Alleppey.

    yes,but do take care of WATER,I MEAN DRINKING WATER.Have mineral water if you go dine outside.

    Explore kuttanadu..Ambalappuzha temple..My God,then tharaavu peralan..

    Take Care.

  4. Sir i think u would get over the change and would love the place except for the seperation from your family.:)gud luck.

  5. Welcome to my home town, Balan, although I am in your home city. I shall connect you to the right kind of friends, the right toddy shops, the right everything. And there are places within the town where mosquitoes are not such a menace as you fear, where you can look for a small house to stay. Filariasis is no longer a threat there. Weekends you can be home and the 6 a.m. Jansatabdi will bring you there at 8.30 a.m. in time for bank on Mondays. Buy an electric kettle to boil water for drinking. This is just one elementary precaution you need to take. If you happen to go to Chithira bar, ask for Radhakrishnan, my childhood friend who serves there. Tell him we will be coming there together one of these days. You are going to have a wonderful time, be assured.

  6. Friends! Thanks to each of you for wishing me good luck. Hope I'll be able to discover Alleppey enough for another 3 years of blogging! :-)

  7. I left you a rather long note last night on this blog...Not understanding why it is not showing now..Last night, it showed it as posted....????

  8. @Sandy: Dunno. ?! Am in Alleppey. Won't be able to come here often till I get a USB stick.
    Anyway, thanks Sandy! :-)

  9. beautiful pictures Sir..

    take care and all the best in enjoying it all Good luck .. I guess more pics to come then :)


  10. Mr B : welcome to the neighborhood..now the chances of actually bumping into you or making a travel on a weekend seems so very easy..i have a feeling that finally i would get to meet you in person real soon, as your moving to alapuzha and my ideas with alapuzha on the script :)

    to a day when i get to see a person, reading whose life, i have felt, maybe this could be me in about almost the same time again here on earth..

  11. may u have another Kottayam in Alleppey

  12. Have a great time, as Sumi said may you find another Kottayam in Alleppey :)

  13. Greetings Balan Sir! I am so glad to be here - visiting you in Allepey! Hope you can work out something to be home as often as you can.

    I must tell you, your new profile picture makes me smile too!

    I have tried several times to follow your blog but for whatever reason blogger doesn't quite follow. Let me try again...

  14. Balan,

    You remember you wished to "supervise Raja and Kalmadi and Kanimozhi standing shoulder to shoulder and singing, standing in knee deep slush in paddy fields!"

    And you loved to supervise the paddy harvest in Mavelikkara!

    :-P Your wish seems to be coming true ;-) Gorgeous place it seems to be. I have not been in Alapuzha yet; I always want to go. Have fun

  15. B: Thanks, B, and you are welcome to the backwaters! Its a great experience; except that in the tourist season ( begun) till Feb, there are bound to be a lot of tourist traffic, but the backwaters can accommodate all.

    NRI: Thanks for coming by. At seeing my profile pic, P said - 'Whew, you finally smiled into the camera!'

    Arun & Sumi: I hope so too..

    Ousu: I have managed to get accommodation at the YMCA. Independent houses and apartments are hard to come by. YMCA is quite near to my office; it is also in the city but looks quite decent and clean. Hop in any time!

    Bikram: Thanks, buddy! I rode my bike to Alleppey from Trivandrum ( 160 kms - 3 and a half hours- highway is very crowded and it rained) the new colleagues's jaws dropped at the same instant learning that I came biking! ;-)

  16. Wishing you all the best at your present place of posting. As a banker one has to be mentally prepared for such changes. Kindly be careful. Alapuzha is infamous for Mandu (Elephentitis). I also belong to your fraternity.

  17. Awesome pictures :))) Best of luck for new place.

  18. my best holiday have been in Trivandrum and that was in Oct,2007 at UDS...I loved the hotel, the food, the beach and the sunset....good to read your blog sir :)

  19. hai balan...................being away from home is not great.......apart from that aalapuzha will provide you with so many photo opportunities


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