An earthen smell greets me as I step out on to the muddy streets in God's Own Land – Kerala, India. A slight drizzle dampens my hair as I look up to the night sky dappled with iridescent celestial bodies that watch me with twinkling eyes. The street is deserted of people, but the crows, cows, and cats stroll with me as I find the apartment that my sisters and I have rented. My sisters trail behind me, clearly as in awe as I was. I see a light off in the distance. Calling my sisters, we drink coffee for 10 rupees on the side of a street. The smell of strong kattan coffee wafts up to my olfactory senses. It's been a long flight, and we need to sleep. As we flop on to our beds, sleep greets us like an old friend.
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My sisters and I like our space, but we can only stand solidarity for so long. For this reason, Kerala is the perfect place for us when we want to get out of our busy lives of learning, working, and teaching and just live a dream life for a while. When we need our space, we can go off on to a road with no sense of direction and just drive, observing the graceful fauna and the vibrant flora. When we want to be with people and belong somewhere, the beautiful shopping centers and main roads present us with the necessary interactions to be in perfect equilibrium. Although the ethnic restaurants and clothes are beautiful, the peace is what attracts us to Kerala most.
We drive our Jeep through the rough roads, feeling mini-rollercoasters in our stomachs as the bumps in the roads meet the rugged wheels of adventure of our vehicle. A chant rolls in to the air as my auditory senses picks up the splash of water as people crowd around a river and watch a multitude of rowboats course through the jungle green water, colored by the rich vegetation growing under it. These rowboats are a very systematic ritual, a tradition of backwater Kerala, the behind the scenes past the modernized Cochin. I absolutely love seeing the men work hard as their family urges them on on the coast, but even more amazing is the sense of unity that tie the men together when they win the competition.
Kerala shows an ideal world behind all the industrialization and crowding. Places like Munnar, Marayur, and Allapuzha help many families feel the wonders of God as we feel tranquility touch us with its misty depths and open dampness.
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