In October 2007, reality for me was a hot and dusty
Yes, I can write and pronounce that tongue twister name of the capital city of
Kerala is green. Rubber, coconut, banana and areca nut trees are what you see for miles and miles. And if you look beyond the trees, you see beaches with the waters a hazy blue, green, grey, orange, and even muddy. It all depends on the time of the day, the location, and your viewpoint. There are hills in the distant, the
Kerala is red. Small red bananas hang in bunches from long stalks in roadside stalls and are unbelievably sweet when eaten. Red coconuts have cool, refreshing water to help you beat the humidity and the white flesh scraped from their insides melts in your mouth. Areca nuts redden your lips. Small red flowers are strung in the well-oiled plaits of the young girls like a long forgotten fashion idea. The rows of red tiled roofs shield old-fashioned houses from the sun. There are not many glass-fronted skyscrapers yet on the landscape. The inescapable red communist flags line some of the streets, making their own statement.
Kerala is black. The black soil at Kovalam, rich in minerals, is washed onto the beach. Black boat houses and canoes rock steadily in the waters. There is the black of the mountains, visible where they have been cut away. The gods are black too, hewn out of granite. In the Padmanabhaswamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram, it is a granite Vishnu that reclines so hugely that he is viewed across three doorways, his black arm flung across to bless the worshippers, adorned with a thick gold bracelet that shines in the darkened interior and highlights the beauty of its form. There is the darkening black of the clouds, when the thunder clouds pour forth their bounty with unrelenting fury and make the land what it is. The people have a smooth ebony colouring, accentuated by the stark whiteness of their crisp shirts.
This land of deep colours and deeper tranquility helped me escape from the blinding daylight starkness and neon-lit nocturnal existence of