“South-West monsoon expected to reach Kerala three days early” read the headlines on the front page of a business daily. Though the article was on the brightened prospects of farm and economic growth; we were thrilled too to read the announcement. The estimated date of arrival of the monsoon is usually on 1 June, this year, it was expected on 29 May.
Three more weeks of school vacation left and only one place in mind – home and that is Kerala. But however nostalgic we get, every Malayalee has a love-hate relationship with the state. We mostly love the state, living away from it and hate the place while staying there. Nevertheless, whatever the current state of the relationship, it is home and we go back each time to reconnect with our roots.
1 June also marks the school re-opening date across the state. Hence, though the rains bring the welcome respite from the heat, they are also a huge bother while stepping outside. The rains have a really annoying pattern – pours heavily early morning as the kids are waiting to catch the school bus; once safely in the bus with the drenching umbrella and raincoats, the rain stops for a while. It resumes when its time for the office goers to go on their commute and once after this lot reaches office, the rain abates for sometime.
Evening, the same pattern follows, just as the kids are returning from school, it rains. Then stops, to start again when the office goers are getting back home.
Luckily this time, we have neither school not office to go to and for the next three weeks, we are going to enjoy what is called Monsoon tourism in Kerala. But we are here not as tourists, it’s home and a vacation visit to home has a different flavour.
As tourists, we explore the new but here we will be re-visiting the familiar and rekindling the bonds with the old places, people and food – visiting the familiar homes, meeting the extended family, eating our favourite food and enjoying the same old stories.
We will be spending time between two districts mostly – Ernakulam and Kottayam. There is only one colour across the state during the rainy season – green. Kerala is picturesque and beautiful and the rains are spectacular !! Happy to be here !!
Kerala, called God’s Own Country; now in the grip of Nipah virus, has resulted in several people cancelling their planned trips to the state. But there is no panic here, people are alert and cautious and are going about their normal lives.