As my blog’s name suggests, I’ve pretty much led a nomadic life. Just like every other kid living miles away from their hometown, my trips to Kerala have just been limited to the quintessential once-in-a-year journeys during my summer vacations. Now all you people who have seen Kerala will probably wholeheartedly nod their heads when I say that Kerala’s one of the most beautiful places in India. God’s own country and all that jazz. And for all of you who haven’t seen it, GO. Book a ticket or something.
Couldn’t get a ticket right?
Aah well. Don’t worry. You’ll probably get one after a year or so, But here’s something to help you, in case you ever get a ticket.
Presenting to you,
THE TRAVELLER’S GUIDE TO KERALA AND ITS QUIRKS.
---->We pride ourselves on being the land of harthals and strikes. The people here have probably gone on strike for EVERY reason(read flimsy excuse) possible. So if you are one of those people who are utterly jobless and are looking to waste your time some more by crying “Zindabaad” until your throat goes drier than the Thar desert, look no further. Kerala is your dreamland.
Seriously, we should go in the Guinness Book of records for the maximum number of silly excuses invented for declaring a strike.
Your demands are not met? Lets go on a strike.
The Chief Minister’s demands are not met? Lets go on a strike.
The Chief Minister’s demands ARE met? Never mind! Lets go on a strike people!
The Chief Minister sneezes? STRRRRIKE.
Aah well you get the point.
So if you are stranded on an empty road , bag and baggage, the day you land here..rest assured. Its just a strike.
· ------> All you style fashionistas, BEWARE. We take the adage “If you’re in Rome, do as the Romans do” very, very seriously. Now if you are outside Kerala, it doesn’t matter to us even if you put on your Blah-est outfit. But, dear Dorothy, while in Kerala, you need to follow a strict dress code.
- Any outfit without a generous splash of blindingly-bright sequins, will not be considered a proper outfit. In fact if your outfit is one of those plain ones without a trace of a single sequin, then get ready. You are going to be subjected to a wide variety of tch-tchs and disapproving stares from every elderly lady you meet on the street. And of course, the seemingly innocent question “Oww, don’t you have any new clothes?” In case you ever get stuck in a situation like this, just smile politely at them while patiently letting the evil criticism sail smoothly from one ear to the other and OUT.
- If your outfit is NOT bright yellow, bright orange, bright red..or in other words bright any-colour, take my advice and just throw them off a cliff before you come to Kerala. We can also graciously adjust with non-bright pinks, yellows and oranges. But the people who try to wear blacks and dark blues and dark browns..RIP. You have just committed social suicide.
- Stick to salwar kameezes unless you want to get stared at. And do not underestimate the talent of the ‘poovaalan’ genre of guys, at staring. If you boldly attempt to wear jeans and a tee, the amount of staring that you are going to receive will make you want to dig a hole and hide. And then come out and rush to the nearest clothes-store to buy the brightest salwar kameez available.
- Wearing a ‘pottu’ or bindi is a MUST. Unless you want people to searchingly scan every bit of your face, discover that you are not wearing a bindi, get a mini-heart attack, and then ask you “molu pottu onnum thodathille?”, while you sheepishly stare at the floor wondering why you ever thought of committing this horrendous crime.
- Minimalism is simply not accepted. You should be wearing as much gold as you can possibly be adorned with, while here. Your social status is going to be judged by the amount of gold hanging on you. Worried that you look like one of those models in the jewellery ads? Mission successful.
- You must possess atleast knee length hair. Shoulder length hair? Hmm..ok..fine. Short hair? OH-MY-GOD. Shock. Horror. Disaster.
- As for all you men, what are you waiting for? Bring on the lungis! B)
· ---> Want to taste the yummiest food ever? Step into Kerala lands, my friend. Now some of the stuff you should definitely try are:
- EVERY type of non-vegetarian dish possible. Fish, duck, beef,crab and so on and so forth. It will be among the best non vegetarian food you have ever tasted. All you vegetarians, well, turn into non-vegetarians or something.
- The upperis or chips, made with every possible fruit/vegetable. You are going to throw that packet of Lays you’ve been munching on once you get your hands on these little gems.
- The sadya. You might as well go attend a Malayali wedding just for the heck of devouring the sadya. Wait, isn’t that what almost ALL of us Malayalis go to weddings for? :P
- The halwas and the jalebis and achappams from any local bakery. I swear they don’t make them like that anyplace else. I finally realized the meaning of ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ :D
- The mouthwatering array of pickles.
- Avial- Kerala’s answer to ‘how can you possibly make a vegetable salad tasty?’
· -----> Once you step into Kerala territory, you must automatically decide which side you support. No I’m not talking about the ruling party and the opposition. What I’m talking about is the Mohanlal-Mammootty fans associations. Very difficult decision. I know. Choose wisely. Your entire future depends on this one life-altering decision.
· -----> Get accustomed to seeing tall coconut trees everywhere. Yes its very green and beautiful and pristine everywhere but a coconut may just fall on your head while you are open-mouthedly admiring the greenery.
· ----> If you want to make some quick bucks, open a lottery-ticket selling shop. Best business, I tell you.
· -----> Yes, we will cook everything in coconut oil. Don’t cringe.
· ------> Don’t make fun of our accent. Atleast almost everyone can talk in English. If you make fun of our English we will give you some ‘naadan’ beating. And subsequently go on strike the next day if you complain against us.
Phew. Hope you guys enjoy your stay. Be sure to take home some bananas and coconuts and pickles.:)