He and I, Places

Mazhavil Maldives

When you’re younger, you dream of the perfect wedding. I’m not sure why but most such dreams involve a beach setting, or some water body. Mine did too. Cream-beige dais, white flowers & pearls, the east coast waves crashing nearby. I would be thin and so pretty in that simple but stunning gown. Gosh it was all so beautiful in my head.

But then life takes over, and you realise it takes a lifetime’s earning to host a beach wedding. You don’t have more than a month’s salary in your bank account and your parents tell you they need that retirement saving. So the wedding location is off. You realise you are 30 and you have these huge thighs and sagging waist, and then you know that that girl in that stunning gown is also gone. Then there is the fight over the menu between both families. And very quickly, the wedding becomes an ‘okay, let’s get it over with soon’ event. The only solace in all this tragedy is that you marry the guy you love. So, clap clap clap.

If the wedding didn’t go according to plan, you can imagine what happened to the honeymoon dreams. I am fascinated with the aurora borealis and I’ve always wanted to have some memorable life-incidents in that setting. Maybe a marriage proposal or a childbirth, or at least a breakup. Since none of those had any feasibility of happening, I thought it would be a good honeymoon idea. But haha, joke’s on you coz you spent all your money on clothes that you will not fit into after 6 months.

So, I was inclining towards the Maldives. Beach gal and all. And, “we” (since marriage happened, decisions are no longer individual actions ) decided to honeymoon in the charming Maldives. Gosh, Maldives is as expensive as it is beautiful! The private islands which are basically the ones with those fancy resorts are so costly. And as much as i love the waters, i do not surf or dive. Neither does the husband. So what is the point in giving bags of money to these fancy places if all we are gonna do is spread a towel and laze in the beach with a book and some snacks. We thought we might as well do the same in a cheaper, local island which has the exact same views. So island hopping was the plan and off we packed to the Maldives. We loitered around in Male for a couple of days and picked the Liberty guest house in Mahibadhoo island of the South Ari atoll to stay.

The vacation was awesome and I carry some very very memorable moments. Like seeing shooting stars like the daily milkman but at night, spotting a stingray by pure chance, jumping excitedly at the incredible bioluminescence, snorkelling to see some of the most gorgeous fishes & gross sea slugs/cucumbers coexisting like one very happy family. The glorious sunsets & sunrises day after day like clockwork (and how much wow that you can see the sunrise from the window and walk around for 2 minutes in the evening to see it set), the million twinkling stars, the turquoise waters that turn into “sea” blue in just a few meters, and of course, making out to some stunning views and valayosai kala kala vena.. It is a honeymoon after all!

It was a relaxing/fun holiday for us, than the cliched “romantic”. Mornings were to picnic under a portia tree just between our room and the sea – talking, reading (I was reading Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford and absolutely loved it) , munching on snacks, paddling about in a kayak and dozing off when the heat got to us. Sometimes, the husband went to play cricket with a fellow-tourist Australian family while I would stalk hermit crabs or try to form friendships with fishes if the tide was high. There is this very pretty pattern the crabs leave on the sandy shores, especially in the mornings. They probably come out at night in batches and totter around the island and their footprints (or whatever their feet are called) on the sand look like braids. It was so interesting to look at those.

Evenings were to walk around the village, watch the sunset and the ferries go in and out of the jetty, maybe pop into a petty shop and buy two bananas for a 100 dollars. Maldives pretty much imports everything. Even food staples are imported as there is not a lot that can be grown in the sandy soil. So, everything is expensive. They probably have only Tuna and coconuts in abundance. There isn’t a lot of food options. But i think i could live forever on roshi & mashuni.

It was a truly wonderful trip and like i say to every place i visit – Oh! i have to come back here again.
Now let me go and work the rest of my life to do that.
Cheerio.

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Baseless rants, Frivolously Yours, Places

Walking into the pages of Jane Austen’s books

So after the cousin got married, we sent the couple off on their honeymoon and packed our bags to Kerala. Kerala has always been a personal favourite. I love waters and mountains. And Kerala is a generous giver of those pleasures.

On the way to Thekkady

We hit Thekkady first. It was pre-monsoon, which meant hazy mornings, warm afternoons and pleasantly chilly evenings. We spent a couple of days there – loitering around the town munching vaazhaikai & jackfruit chips, stopping at random tea stalls for that glass of glorious tea. We attended a couple of shows – Kalari (martial arts) & Kathakali. Excellent performances really. We also took elephant rides and it was so much fun. There was a plan to visit the Periyar lake but unfortunately it was closed that week due to some recent heavy rains, so had to pass on that one.

From Thekkady we went on to Nedumkandam. We’d booked a homestay there. It was a lovely piece of property and had the best view. The vacation was just like I had wanted it – lazy & without an agenda.

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View from the bedroom

The entire week followed this charming routine: Wake up to the view of misty hills, sit in the garden chair and ponder on the beauty of life while sipping hot coffee, curl up in the sofa and read, walk around the town in the afternoon, get back, enjoy that steaming cup of chai, lie/roll in the grass in the front yard till the delicious aroma of kappa & beef curry come wafting out through the kitchen window. Run like the wind to the dining table, eat, hog, stuff yourself and land in bed. This routine, generously sprinkled with magical trips into the world of Jane Austen’s characters – PERFECT.

Local Market – Dried Fish

Local Market – Quail Eggs

Just walking in and around the town felt like I was transported to the pages of Jane Austen’s books. Like Elizabeth or Elinor walking across over moors, among heather bushes, picking wild flowers from the fields. There were some friendly hills in the town, which meant very less effort to climb. So that’s what I did, I went up these hills – just walking, skipping gaily, humming & singing. And once at the top, you can feel the wind trying to blow you off the hill. Whew! I am visiting this town every year. This is a beautiful beautiful place.

All that is missing is a basket

Traipsing through fields of grass

There is this place Ramakkal Medu nearby, where they have a giant statue of a Kuravan-Kurathi couple. Oh and there are these wind mills on these hills and it is fantastic to see! Another day we went to a waterfall in a nearby village called Etithope. It was so pretty and I am glad we did it. We had to descend quite a long way to get to the bottom of the falls, but it was just worth it. There was a cocoa bean and nutmeg plantation and I badly wanted to flick some. But i wouldn’t know what to do with it later, so i just walked on.

Cocoa Bean Trees

Yes, Please do visit this place. It is so lovely. No I am too lazy to describe stuff in detail. Please do yourself a favour and go visit it, trust me!

Also, totally stuck on two songs that I dug up from an ancient playlist. and on repeat ever since

Shukraan Allah – Kurbaan

 

Vaanam Keezhe – Thoongathey Thambi

 

Take care,

pH.

Baseless rants, Frivolously Yours, Grumpy Girl Chronicles, random musings

WWID

What if, what if right now they said that a T-Rex is loose and running wild in my neighbourhood. And people were being evacuated. I am wondering if I would immediately run as fast as I could to the safe assembly points and push over people to get onto the evacuation trucks/autos.
Or would I try and stay back for as long as possible just so i could see a dinosaur up close. Maybe just hide under a rock and touch it’s claw?

I guess I will pick option 2. Death by a theropod is better than death by old age.

Baseless rants, Frivolously Yours, Places

Uphill & Downhill

As per usual, it has been sometime since the last post. I have taken up a new assignment at work and have quite a few things on my plate. I couldn’t find time to write. I haven’t even had enough time to read and my TBR tray has a pretty tall stack.

Talking of books, I had been reading Picadilly Jim sometime back. I was only halfway through it and had lost the book. And somehow mysteriously it has now appeared on my work desk. You are forgiven, penitent thief.

A couple of weeks back I went uphill to Kotagiri for a short holiday. It was a sweltering summer in my town. The mind ached for a cool place and the body faltered to the Nilgiris. It was a refreshing change going from 33 – 35 degrees to 14-15 in a matter of 8 hours. I went with the family and we stayed in a cozy cottage in the middle of a tea plantation. It was the perfect place to unwind. Misty mornings, filtered sunlight with generous downpours for a couple of hours in the afternoons. Plus a most beautiful view to wake up to. The world is a beautiful place.

Waking up to this

There is one thing I wanted to write about – Panamarams. I have always liked the routes I take to work. One of my older jobs had me take the East Coast Road everyday, and I would travel around 3-4 hours overlooking the sea. Yes crowded buses, sweaty passengers who assume they are playing kabaddi – but you could still just somehow become oblivious to all that and just get lost in the beauty of the sea, the sand, the horizon, and those lovely panai marams. Palmyra palm or Borassus or just Pana maram. The blue-brown seascape & the pana marams would seem like the ever present backdrop and the towns would be the foreground frames that kept changing. Everyday on the ECR was like watching a bioscope show.

I think I can boast of a decent memory, and I have seen a fair share of panamarams pretty much everywhere in the state. Tall, dark & handsome. No wonder it is the state tree. There used to be so many of these trees just strewn along the geography of Tamil Nadu. They just grow on their own whims & fancies. The pretty palms. And their nungu fruit!

Palmyra Palms

The road that I take now to work has pana marams too. But I think they are getting lesser in number. I remember there used to be large paddy fields not very far from home. The borders were lined with palms and there used to be so many parrots in those trees. I would wander around those fields on weekends listening to the parrots, hunting bugs & beetles, living life to the fullest.

Now, i can’t remember when I last saw or heard a parrot. I don’t see as many palm trees. And sadly, those paddy fields aren’t there anymore either.

Baseless rants, Growing pains

What If my son becomes a sexual offender?

Lately we have been hearing about¬†many incidents¬†of rape, torture and murder. Babies that can’t stand on their own,¬†little girls who haven’t even come of age, elderly women who¬†are too feeble to walk – nobody is an exclusion.¬†It is appalling that of late victims of many such shameless acts have been little children.

A recent incident that came to light Рthe rape and murder of an 8 yo girl in Kathua is extremely tragic. It is a shame and no amount of condolences can earn us her forgiveness. It was a horrendous act and the maggots responsible for such heinous crimes should never be pardoned.

This incident had me all tearing up. It filled me with anger. If it was in my power to punish these animals – the ones that destroyed the lives of Aasifa, Nirbhaya, and the many other women we have not heard of, I would have them brutally castrated.¬†That these men could be so consumed by carnal cravings that there is no regard for another human’s life is just disgusting on so many levels. They should be punished severely. Only such severe punishment to those accused can serve as a warning for the upcoming rapists.

Yes, Maybe. But is that the solution? Will that stop rape incidents in the future? Will our daughters and mothers be safe from tomorrow?

Most of my friends are  young mothers. I am sure that they have heard about these incidents and as are as shocked and enraged as I am. Some of the friends I spoke to are already worried for the safety of their little daughters. I do not have kids, but sometimes I catch myself wondering if I can guarantee a safe society for my unborn daughter. I cannot bear to even think that something horrible like that can happen to her. That is my precious daughter and I will do everything to keep her safe & protected.

But what could be worse than some ghastly assault befalling my daughter is if my son turned into a sex offender. Yes. I said that.

We talk about how best we can keep our girls safe and all that. But safe from what? We all need to take some time to think about it. Just punishing the accused assaulters is not going to stop all these sexual crimes against women. Raising our sons to respect women will. A long shot, but well worth the try, I think.

Maybe it is just as simple as that. Maybe it is time we start thinking along those lines. Maybe we need to eliminate gender stereotyping right from home. Right from when we start raising the kids up.  It is not just about sexual crimes against women. It is also about verbal abuse, harassment, pretty much everything under gender based violence.

Don’t let our boys get the idea that girls are weak and that they can boss over the girls. I have seen that happen an uncountable number of times. Let us stop telling the kids that cars and bikes are “anna” oda toys and stove and skillets are “paapa” oda toys. Teach the boys to respect their sisters.

It is funny that sexual abuse is so common in our country and yet sex education is taboo. We need to teach our kids about what good and bad touches are. We need to train them to discuss stuff with us.

I read an article about how a 5th std kid suddenly started hurling verbal abuses at his younger sister everyday. The parents later found out that he had teamed up with some kids from his tennis academy to play a video game that involved beating and tying up girls. The game influenced the kid to demean his sister Рa girl. Left unchecked, this surely would go on to influence this thoughts, actions as he grows older. These are places parents need to be
more careful. Yes, kids need to have their space. But they also need to be monitored. They need to believe that parents are friends and not condemners.  They need to know, and know for sure, that they can always fall back on the parents.

Unless the boys we raise now are taught to respect and value girls, I think these rapes & murders will never stop. Even long after we have settled in Mars.

It will break my heart into a million pieces if my daughter was a rape victim. I will never have it in me to forgive those responsible.
But it will break into a million more if my son was a rapist. Then, I will never be able to forgive myself.

I wrote this in an emotional rush. I don’t even know if it makes sense.