Braving the sea’s boiling waters to feed his family.
Picture taken on Payyambalam beach Kannur in Kerala
Despite being familiar with both pieces of music for many years, I have only just noticed the similarities between the opening of the storm interlude In Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes” and Leonard Bernstein’s “A boy like that” from Westside Story.
Picture taken, slightly beyond the borderline of my camera’s zoom capability, on Payyambalam beach Kannur, in Kerala
Picture taken in Fort Cochin
I have been away again.
Picture taken beside the bar of Cochin Airport’s International Departure lounge.
Unni, our young driver, takes a break beside the lake.
Picture taken by the lake at Thattekad, Kerala
My bedroom balcony overlooks the coffee plantation.
Picture taken in Wayanad, Kerala, during a tour of South India I am presently making with old friends
After None light and shade
Picture of the monk’s refectory taken at Kurisumala Trappist Monastery, Kerala
Pictures of monks’ freshly laundered, saffron habits taken in Kurisumala Trappist Monastery, Kerala
Picture shows a group of visiting pilgrims taking refreshment in Kurisumala’s refectory
High in the quiet hills of Kerala, is Kurisumala, India’s only Trappist Monastery.
Here in coastal Kerala, late evenings are played out against a gentle orchestra of cicadas, while night is punctuated by pye-dogs‘ alternating howls and barks. The cries soon summon restless answer from their housebound cousins. And, lest tedium ensue, variety is on-hand from rapturous choirs of toads.
Inside the house, mosquitos’ persistent drones buzz the ears of those who risk sleep without fan or nets.
But, well before the sun’s first gleaming and muezzin’s call to prayers, neighbouring roosters arise en masse, in boisterous anticipation of the day.
Our new lodger presumably escaped from one such neighbour’s clutch. Though, no sooner had our guesting hen settled and laid than Shaji, Dalila and Anu bought wheat grain to enhance her feed, and sat in conference to plan her continued well-being. Chickens are social animals and apt to pine if kept alone. It seems that acquiring company for our paying guest is to be Shaji’s new project.
Hens are thought to have been first domesticated in either India or China, maybe almost ten thousand years ago. Their original appeal to humans lay in cockfighting. Notions of eggs fried “sunny-side up” or chicken tikka masala, came considerably later.
Picture taken in the Kannur army cantonment, Kerala
Boys hitch a ride on the back of a Ganpati festival float.
Picture taken in Kannur, Kerala
We left the golden beauty of the beach only to wander into a twilight festival:
A party of young Hindu faithful were celebrating the festival of Ganapati.
Percussive rhythms should never be underestimated:
Their power to evoke passions crosses all cultural boundaries:
Picture taken in Kannur, Kerala
“Now I further saw, that betwixt them and the gate was a river; but there was no bridge to go over, and the river was very deep..”
“..It is you, it is you they wait for; for you have been hopeful ever since I knew you. ”
Picture taken at sunset on Payyambalam Beach, Kannur
Quotations taken from The Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan 1628 -1688)
Sunset on Payyambalam beach, Kannur
A child breaks free on the sands of Payyambalam beach in Kannur.
“My life is like a stroll on the beach…as near to the edge as I can go.”
Henry David Thoreau, 1817 – 1862
Pictures taken at sunset on Payyambalam Beach, Kannur
A street vendor in Kannur
Today I came across a small Hindu temple, whose caretakers were an elderly Muslim couple.
Such gentle and unostentatious tolerance of different faith traditions,
in a country whose communal violence often descends into almost unimaginable carnage,
could probably only happen in Kerala.
Picture taken in a small Hindu temple in Cochin.
Our Onam lunch.
(From left to right: Robin, Anu, Stefan, Dalila and Shaji.)
As I took breakfast this morning Dalila, my wonderful cook, and Anu, my ever-cheerful houseboy, sat in the kitchen, separating flower petals.
We are now in the midst of Onam – Kerala’s biggest festival – a time celebrated by everyone: Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike.
Part of Onam’s tradition is the making of a “pookalam”: a small carpet of flower petals to welcome the return of a semi-mythical Kerala king whose reign, much like England’s King Arthur, was a time of peace, justice and chivalry.
Once they had taken breakfast Anu, with the help of Stefan – Dalila’s youngest son – spent the rest of the morning creating an Onam pookalam in our hall.
A vegetarian lunch palette in a Kerala roadside restaurant:
the fast-food equivalent of traditional sadya cooking.
Picture taken in a roadside restaurant, travelling between Cochin and Kottayam.