It’s been 9 months since I have been interning. First in Kochi, now in Goa. 9 months of exploration. New places, new people, new experiences.
But you know what has been reoccurring all these 9 months? Art. In the weirdest of ways.
I used to be a pretty good one at art when I was little. I still have memories of my dad, teaching me how to draw an elephant and a lotus, telling me his stories about art. He would never have imagined his eldest daughter to pick art (read architecture), for a profession out of all the trades of which she was master of none.
Then college happened. 3 years where everything was undermined. The heart was told that you weren’t good enough. It fought in the beginning, but then gradually fell away into despairs of self doubt.
With the commencement of 4th year, I moved to Kochi. Away from everything. And guess what? Life kept throwing me into art. I met a girl who told me she was an artist. in the mornings, when I was about to go to office I would see her, with a bandana on her head, playing with colors. I stared at it from a distance. I listened to my heart beat. That weekend, I went home and brought back a sketchbook which was about an year old, but the pages pristine. I started with sticking the little things that I collected – train tickets, roses and abstractions. One day I went to Fort Kochi, walked it’s paths for the first time, experienced it’s charms, just took it all in. But it was too much for my little heart, that night I sketched away the beautiful memories, and slept in peace knowing that I had locked them away. Knowing that they would now, never fade away. That was the beginning of Kochi Kadhakal. The beginning of so many beautiful stories.
6 months later, Goa happened. And I still find myself experiencing art in ways that at times take my breath away.
For the first time, I find myself believing the words of Paulo Coelho,
And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.
I do not know what I want, but now I very well know that the universe is conspiring for something beautiful.
2 years ago, I remember walking down this way, taking in the beauty of the Mandovi, the simplicity of the lighthouse and the greens, complimenting the cultural hub of Goa, Kala Academy, one of the masterpieces of the architect Charles Correa.
We were then, 2 years into being students of the vastness called Architecture, laughing our hearts away, clicking endlessly fake candids exploiting the beauty around us.
Who knew, 2 years later, I would stand at this very spot, in the very clothes, looking away into the Mandovi, miles away from those people, reminiscing about these moments?
This time, is a funny thing.
It takes you to places, puts you in situations, make you experience things that you never even dreamt of.
Maybe another two years down the lane, I may have something more interesting and intriguing to share. Well, who knows?
May I have the good fortune to do so. In Sha Allah.
The city, known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, a crossroad for people with a little or a lot in the district of Ernakulam in Kerala, is a host to many wonders. With tourists swarming its streets to natives rushing to work, it’s an experience to behold.
This post is just a compilation of scribbles and lines that are so close to my heart. A manifestation of my memories. Held so dear.
The true essence of the place called Cochin lies totally in the streets of Fort Kochi and Mattanchery. Each and every element around has a story to tell. Be it the buildings, the trees, the people or the stones. And the most prominent of it is the history of a bloody Fort Kochi.
FORT KOCHI BEACH
Beaches all in all are peaceful. At times, I wonder why are these places so calm and serene even when its crowded. Fort Kochi beach is a lot of plant residues, people, yet so peacefull, with the waters rocking on the banks.
A trip to Fort Kochi or Mattanchery is never complete without the ferries. Ferries are a totally different experience. With standing in long queues, paying 4 rupees for a ticket, waiting for the guards to open the chains, so that one could sprint across to get on the ferry to catch a window seat. The smell, the wind breezing around, the rumbling sounds, the rippling waters and the big ships, this is when we simply stare out and just breathe.
Though the Arts college is the one known famously as Maharajas, The Govt. Law College also shares the glory of the name. Sneaking in, to this place which was always a dream, I fell in love. I needed a breath to take it all in. The age old architecture, the ever present trees, the noisy courtyards and corridors, the wooden staircases, the broken walls and the classrooms that carry the hearts of students on its walls, these colleges are a feeling. A first hand experience of the power of architecture through the ambience .
The streets of Mattancherry are not that frequently visited by the numerous tourists that visit Kochi. Mattanchery has its own share of sights, the Jewish Synagogue, the Jew street, the Dutch Palace, the Gujrati Street being a few. With its warehouse turned endeavors, empty roads, walls decorated with art, the charm lurks around each and every corner , even in the broken window frames.
CAFES & EATERIES
Kochi is incomplete without its share of eateries and cafes. A perfect host to foodies, the restaurants and cafes were a beautiful in itself with their hanging lights, deep art works, hidden charms and the clattering of spoons. Each and every cafe has a story to tell, a scene to portray, a character to meet, a memory to be made. Where laughs could be heard over a coffee or cake so expensive, or so cheap.
MATTANCHERY MUD CHURCH
A recent addition to the essence of Mattanchery, is architect Vinu Daniel’s masterpiece of a church. In its primitivity lies its beauty. The single halled church welcomes with a whole heartedness, the verandahs waiting for the sound of your footsteps, the stained glasses glittering around. The feeling of sacredness, inspite of all this still intact.
The first time I came to Kadavantra, it intimidated me. A junction with four buildings in each corner, representative of different styles and periods was our icon for this part of the city. It was the best host I could have, with its friendly residents, who never failed to ask about my day when I passed by their homes after work, the lanes lit and clear for me to walk at 8, with its perfect position, nearly equidistant from the ‘modern’ and the ‘charming’ sectors of the city. This place gave me the people and the experiences that makes Kochi special.
Kochi taught me to live in the moment again. To be myself again. To love me again.
Kochi moves me into tears with the sheer memory of the beautiful moments spent in its depths.
Sitting at our table in Zaatar at Panampilly, we sat simply looking at each other, the weight of this being the last dinner heavy on us. Even when Ayushi left, it was Zaatar. We had nothing to talk suddenly. We checked out the others, the foreigners, the chefs for whom we were an entertainment session through their see through glass partition and vise versa. Then the food was served and we had our whole fill, back with our bickering.
When we walked back after dinner talking this and that, we wanted to grab our ever favorite Choco Lava Cake from our go-to cafe, Carrots. That wish was not fulfilled since they didn’t open up after the harthal, for the day.
This Choco Lava Cake is just full of chocolate sauce with a little sponge up and the sides, with a coffee swirl on top. I remember the first day we tried this, when me and my friend was broke and this was the only option. Since then, it has been an absolute favorite.
Food has this special power on people. It strengthens the bond somehow. When we go out for food, order together, share it, fight over it, conversations always on the go, it weaves our hearts through and through.
When I chose Kochi for my first term of internship, I remember some preparations that I had done to familiarize the city and find the pockets of happiness (food outlets) if times of distress were to shower on me.
I joined the Foodies club on facebook. Researched and zeroed in on Panampilly nagar, delighted to know that it was close to my place. That place has too many good outlets. Be it any cuisine. It has anything and everything. Shiffu’s momos was our snacking corner, Pandhal; our cheese cake place, The Burger Junction; our office treat area because it was too much for our pockets, Arya’s; our dosa guys, Gokul; Aayushi’s one and only home, Zaatar; our grill hut and many many more. There were always too many to try out and we were not always ready for new things. There was Lil America, Thakkaram(for me), Primate, Donut factory, Ming’s wok (because we had another Chinese favorite) etc.
Then, there was Punjabi Dhaba. Menaka or boat jetty was equal to PD. Behind Penta Menaka, through a narrow lane, near the Broadway Hotel, is out dear old Dhaba. Quite a shady place, but then you familiarize with it.
If Apurva and Aayushi missed home, it was PD. If we wanted something comparatively cheap, it was PD. And if it was Punjabi Dhaba, then it was always Aloo Paratha and Sweet Lassi. Always.
The Lassi though, a bit costly for 35rs a glass, was too refreshing. It was sure to help us beat the heat. The Aloo Paratha, with or without butter, melts into your mouth, the cut onions and chili as faithful sides.
Our faithful home, Kadavantra had its own share of places too. The Masafi; the biriyani people, Ambiswamy’s; our last resort, the numerous bhaji bhaiyyas and last but not the least, our Chinese favorite, The New Dragon.
Gunamo mecham, vilayo thucham (Great Quality, Low Rate) place. It’s executive lunch (or dinner), with a variety of options for a soup, starters (Chilli Potatoes are mind blowing), Chinese paratha, Noodles/Fried Rice, a gravy and a lime juice. Quite a lot ain’t it? Yeah, we used to have one lunch for two people, two for three and three for four. When we were that hungry, and wanted lots of food, this was our place.
Now coming to our Pasta place, Carrots again. Red or white. Lots of chicken. Lots of pepper. Ah! Delicious.
Subways are for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Those are the chicken sub days. Roasted chicken, chicken tikka, chicken sheekh (chicken kofta when they felt like it in Centre Square Mall Subway). Subways are yum and fulfilling. With all its veggies and sauces (lots of sweet onion and mayo that is) and the perfect chicken. Haaaaah. Subways can never fail to put a smile on my face. It’s my comfort food. My happy food.
Last but not the least, when the going gets tough in hostel and we were too lazy or late to go out, we have MasterChef to our rescue. They always delivered so we never knew where the place was until one day, when we were coming back after our stroll in Panampilly, I saw a little cart with a board. The MasterChef. I stood there with my mouth open. All this while, we were having noodles from a food cart? Anyway, they were always good. Yum and cheap.
There were also days when some choices failed us. Top in the list of failures is Chicking. Noushee had this craving for Chicking since their offers came out and we chose to go on a Thursday. Four people, according to us could easily share 6 pieces of grilled chicken, 6 pieces of chicken lollipop, 2 delite burgers and fries. What do we say? Man proposes and God disposes. And that day, we went hungry even after paying for a whooping 600rs dinner (with the dump tax).
The little experiences shared our food, the laughs, the memories, the tastes. So much to cherish.
As I start writing this post, my mind goes back to all that happened to me this year.
This year has been the most happening in my life.
I stepped out of my cocoon to the real world out there. And the first dose hit me hard. It tried very hard to pull me down, I refused. I fought hard, refusing to drown down. optimism was the key. I was still caught in the currents. I swam. I swam hard, with the help of a dolphin by my side and I emerged victorious when I felt sand under my foot. I was happy again, glad that I got what I want. I believed that, I was the little kid who got everything that she wanted from Allah, I just had to pray. I was happy. Then hell started, the dolphin drifted away. I struggled with myself. It had been a feeling of being trapped. I had fallen into a pit and I was subconsciously aware, but chose to ignore it. When the dolphin went away, I was trapped alone. I was entangled in the creepers down the pit which pulled me down.
During those days, of collecting myself, teaching myself to be emotionally independent, I lost a part of me.
The good part.
The part where I thought I was the little girl who got everything that I wanted if I prayed from Allah. For one’s prayer to be heard, you had to trust. And that was exactly what I had lost. Trust. Hence, my prayers lacked the trust. Still Allah provided me but I was blind. I thought it was all over when I climbed out of the pit, but no. The bitterness and sourness creeped into my soul which I had tried so badly to beautify and had succeeded. Negativity possessed me. The place and people had become suffocating. I started hated everything for no apparent reason. I wanted to run away from the suffocating place.
I wanted to run away, because I knew I was the one who thought wrong.
I wanted to run away, to come back. To come back as the old me, and show the world that nothing would break me.
And I ran away the first opportunity that I got. To my home. Where I would talk to clouds. And the clouds, after having heard the part would move away leaving behind a clear sky so that I could talk to my Allah with fewer hurdles. Thats why I love clouds you see. They know everything. They see everything. They hear everything and they know how to make you feel good. How to make you smile amidst the tears running down your face. I was reconnecting back with my old self, the old surroundings supporting me in the process. And here I am, smiling, because I know I had won again.
I would find the lost part.
The battle was against myself.
And I will be victorious.
In sha Allah.
Ya Allah, All I want,
in which the sun always shined,
clouds, blocked the light
But I always smiled
And beautiful was my sight.
With this prayer in my little heart, I smile.
Because I know Allah is going to listen to me because I have learnt to trust. Only him, again.
And I have beautifully begun,
walking down the path which would lead me to peace and success.
A young angel. A princess. Allah’s Gift. A Baby Girl.
A vacation in India teaches you a lot of things. Makes you realise that the world is not you think it is. Makes you see things which you never wanna see.
This vacation made me write about a thing that was suppressed in my heart for a long time.
There was a death. A death of a baby boy of around two years old. The baby died of fits (febrile convulsions). The baby was sleeping with the parents when his mom felt he had turned all cold. And he was declared dead soon.
Inna lillahi wa Inna illahi raaji’un .
The dead of the baby was sudden and it shook all the people living nearby. But the most heart-wrenching sight was his mother. A young girl of age 18 loses her first child. One cant actually do anything to console her. Its a totally different pain. For a mother, her baby is the most precious thing that she possess. Not her life. Not any materials. Its her baby.
But what made me to write this?
I am 17. She is 18. Our worlds are poles apart. And the thoughts on that point is what made me write what I had always wanted to voice out.
Here I am chilling my life out, studying and doing what I wanna do. I have freedom, no real big responsibilities. I am a student. A daughter.
There she is, a year elder, with a family. With all the responsibilities. She is a daughter. She is a wife. A daughter in law. And was a Mom!
One of the weirdest reason I have ever heard for a man’s second marriage is that he has only daughters from his first wife. Duh! Like Seriously? This is a reason?
What is the problem with having daughters?
Oh yeah. She is a burden. You have to marry her off. And marriage means dowry issues. She will not be able to look after you financially because she will be having her own family. And why teach her? Education is a total no-no for a girl. Anyway she eventually has to marry and settle down. Why waste money? And why should she earn money? She would always have her husband to support her!
Isnt that the answer?
What would I call such people? – Narrow-minded.
Amniocentesis (a test for detecting genetic disorders in the embryonic or foetal stage) is banned in India. Why?
Because of the increased no. of female foeticide. With the results of this test, we also get to know if the child is a girl or a boy.
How low can people stoop? They kill their own child just because it is a girl, an unwanted gender?! How can people be so cruel? And brutal?
When a girl child is born, the mother is blamed. Why? – Hell! Its a girl child!
Well, that girl child was better dead than born to parents who didnt want her in the first place. Why live when you are an unwanted?
And to those parents : You are the losers! The fools who let go of such a treasure!
In my place, marriages are the most funniest thing to me. Gosh! I laugh like hell when people tell me about the different marriages that are about to take place, is taking place or has already taken place!
One fine day, a relative of my mom’s pops up at her home to invite us for his daughter’s marriage. And since I dunno this person(for that case I dunno anyone in India except my real close relatives!) and was not talked to, I sat with a smile plastered on and listened to them speak. Just a casual invite and some catching up. Over in a split of a second.
After he left I asked my mom about the marriage. My main interest was to know the girl’s age. And it didnt surprise me when my mom told she is in 12th or just passed out. What surprised me was the reason behind the early marriage. Anybody wants to guess? Hah. You would all fail miserably! Trust me!
-The girl has a younger sister who is much more taller and healthier than her. So she has to be married off!
You expect me to not laugh at that?
I had enough brains to not laugh in front of my mom. But the laugh did not come even when I was alone pondering over this. My heart was with that girl. What would she be feeling? Married off because she is shorter than her sister!
I felt more like crying because of her situation.
She is pushed to get married and take up all the responsibilities at such a young age when she is supposed to be free, study, curse teachers, have fun with friends and not give a damn about such marital responsibilities! She is deprived of an opportunity to study and become independent!
What do the parents really think when they marry off their daughter at such an early age? (What I mean by early age here is 16-18, I just cant even think about being married off at 13 and 14 though it happens even now. So for now I will just forget it and assume that never happens!)
* For God’s Sake she is a KID! She doesnt know about the world. About life. About anything.
* No further education. Educating her till 12th and waiting for her to finish 12th for the sake of being ‘educated’ is not what I mean by education.
My mom and me always have these arguments over getting married at an early age!
She for one wants me to get married early (Hah! Me?) like say maximum 20. And I insist on finishing my course before I get married like say 22 or 23.
Mom: :O :O 22? 23?
See. Whats with this people and marriage? I cant blame my mom. Its the problem in the whole society. I loathe going to relatives’ houses because there will be grandmas who seriously want to know when they are getting me married! And I go all red with anger. Its tough to control your angry in such situations and smile at them!
They give me an option though.
Mom : You can always continue studying after your marriage, you know.
Me: What if the family that I get married to is against the idea?
Mom : Well, we wont just marry you off. We check and make sure of everything. Only then will the proposal be considered.
Me: What if they change their mind after the marriage?
Mom : -_-
Another Instance (old one , she has changed her stand now. And am happy she has) 🙂 :
Mom: Why do you people actually wanna complete your course before your marriage?
Me : So that we can be financially independent.
Mom : Well, life is not all about a job for a girl. The most important thing in her life is family.
Me : Thats true. Even I agree. And who said I WANT to work without fail? I would work only if I felt so. I dont study because I wanna work. I study because I wanna gain knowledge.
Mom : You would have your husband to support you. I actually see no point.
Me (all geared up) : God forbide, What if at some point of life there is no one to support me?
That was it. My mom went all angry, scolded me for saying something this bad and gave me a lecture about how am not supposed to think of such stuff and all!
Me (ofcourse in my head) : WTH? Talking about it doesnt mean its gonna happen. And we have to think about all these situations. Its not like once you are married everything is fine.
So see the point here? Since my mom is not here I can talk. Lol!
Life is not going to be smooth. At some point of time when you dont have any support from any people, what are you going to do? You cant just quit because you havent got people to help you out. You have to stand up and face the world. And that is where your education comes into play. You have a degree you are on the safer side. Prevention is better than cure!
An ideal Marriage. Her own Family.
This is what all girls would dream of. Those are her biggest dreams.
Marriage is a new phase of life. Its a the bestest of a girl’s life.
Girls dream about their marriage. Thats just how they are and how important it is for them.
But when I look around me and try to understand what a to-be bride’s feelings might be, the perfect happiness is not what I see. There is no glow on her face. Its forced upon her. Why? Because if its late she is not going to get good proposals how much ever educated she is!
That is what I hate about South India. North Indians generally consider a girl’s education as a plus point in her. The more educated , the better! Whereas in South India its more of an AGE-BUSINESS! The more older you get , less is your chance for proposals!
Another aspect for considering a girl as a good bride is her family. If they are rich or not?
Is money all that matter?
And another point, Is she beautiful? – No? Not interested!
The girl cant choose. She cant voice out her opinions. But the boy can measure her beauty, money and character. What is she? A material to be brought?
The boy wants the girl to be beautiful. Even if the boy is not handsome, he wants the girl to be the most prettiest of all!
The girl cant decide against anything because she is got a lot to lose!
Its always the girl who is judged here!
How is that even fair?
Only if I ever had something to wash their heads off all this stupid beliefs and put some sense into their heads! Huh!
I am helpless! And that irritates me the most.
Lets all make dua to Allah, to give us all the best of men as our husbands who will love us for what we are than what we have. Who will lead us to Jannah! and make our everafter and hereafter beautiful! Aameen! 🙂
Let us all be good mothers and have a wonderful family with children who are best in their characters and iman! Aameen! :’)
P.S. I love you Mom though we are poles apart on our thoughts. I never talk to my Dad about these thoughts though! Hehe! I dunno why! 😀
P.P.S : My Bio teacher would be proud of me for applying Amniocentesis here ! 😀 😀