Monday, July 09, 2012

What is special about Kerala's greenery ??

Wayanad scenery
Over the past two weeks, I have made two trips to Kerala. What has surprised me and my fellow travellers is the greenery that covers both sides of the road when you enter Kerala, whether it is from Neeleshwaram, Wayanad, Palghat, Kollam or Trivandrum, the sight is simply mesmerising. The special loving smell of Kerala is everywhere .. The greenery beckons you with open hands ..

Once you enter Kerala, it is very difficult to see barren land anywhere.. Either you find coconut groves or plantains or in the high ranges for sure, tea , coffee or cardamom.. All other places are houses, palatial ones and small ones. People show off their 'nouveau riche' mentality, new rich status by building majestic houses, so palatial, that the old parents staying inside them will soon stop cleaning it on a regular basis.

Most of the poor from the state who have migrated abroad, the first thing they do is build mansions for their old parents to stay. It is a big crime against them as in old age instead of enjoying retirement, they have the burden of keeping the huge houses clean and neat, also protect it from thieves and neighbours' prying eyes. More clearly evident with the new rich from Gulf, Europe and US. But the ordinary Malayali does not have any qualms in these as whether it is old or new money, it is the crisp smell of fresh notes which gets life going for some..

The Gulf and US money also has spawned a new luxury market for the luxury cars, audio video equipment,  home entertainment electronics systems, helping spiral a materialistic culture which can explain partly the growing suicides in the state.

Most of Keralites  have a good sense of colour and greenery, that gardening is a favourite pastime and so in most of the houses you can also find a small garden. Old houses have tiled roof, poor ones among them have thatched roof, but it is very difficult to see such thatched houses now, Then there was for some time, concrete terraced houses. The recent modern ones have slanting concrete terraces with tiles covering them. It gives an appearance of an old house, but well protected from rain, shine and thieves.

The bigger the house, there is also a tendency to have taller gates and walls. The Malayali's extreme craze for gold has spawned the nouveau riche group of jewellers, mostly from around the cultural capital of the state, Trichur. Most of the big houses in the state are either of Jewellers, politicians, corrupt government officers and businessmen and the new breed of spiritual entrepreneurs  ..

One reason why Kerala has thrived over the years is also the fact that, in recent memory say two thousand years or more, God has blessed this land abundantly.. We have not come across any experience of a natural calamity or flood in Kerala, except the one around 1300 AD which saw Cranganore port getting flooded, the resultant silting of the port saw global trade shifting  North to Calicut and south to Kochi, Alleppey and Quilon .. That also explains why St Thomas landed in Cranganore in 52 AD and Vasco Da Gama landed in Cheppad beach, Calicut in 1498 AD. Except for a small famine in 1920 or so, which my parents recall with trepidation, Kerala has all the time been enjoying great climate and weather. South India is so unique in the world to get monsoon rains .. Kerala is that way very blessed, it is indeed God's own land !!

Has this over-blessing of a land led to the people being very lazy ? or very crooked or dependent on the begging bowl of the relatives working in Gulf and other places who are very generous and magnanimous with dispensing money and wealth to their less fortunate brethren in Kerala. ?

It depends on how we people living there make it a heaven or hell by our conduct. Our intelligence, hard work and enterprise is well accepted the world over, but all these good traits are expressed only when a Malayali goes out of his state and not within ..  Why ??


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