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.
To the girl, who smiled through all the odds, who had my respect from day one, who had my love as I came to know her. This was the only thing I could consider giving her as a memoir, because I knew, Art, she would keep it close to her heart, it was like her breath. And I gave her something that she asked of me, something of mine, which I believed she needed more. I pray that it guides you and show you the light in the darkest of times.
Black. Blue. Green.
Black is you. Your underlying soul. Solid and strong. Not the usual vulnerable and depressive, solid and strong.
Blue is your love. The glittering waters and the crashing waves have your attention, every single time. They listened to you all the while. They hugged you when you seeked.
Green is your future. Peace and prosper. Nature and the wild. Just like your untamed heart, hair and height. May you scale more.
Believe girl, in you. Because you are the music that’s too good for some, but right in for you. Because you are the breath, who is free and strong enough to show the world, what you are made of. Because you are one, when set on, can conquer the world.
I was watching Dubai on TV today. Dubai, is a 2001 Malayalam movie, starring our very own Mammooty in its title role.
Well, that film was filmed in dubai for its three quarter portion, but the Dubai in the background is unrecognizable. Its surrounded by clear mountains, buildings not even a quarter of The Khalifa’s size, being given a prominence of picturing the ‘big city’. That Dubai, 15 years younger, was just emerging, with its purity still in place, just like any other Middle Eastern city. But then, the face of Dubai changed. Glittering skyscrapers, posh cars, glamorous lifestyle equals Dubai now. It had successfully taken its name on the list of the world cities, until it lost its lusture. There used to be a time, when I always bugged my father to take us to Dubai for a family vacation. I used to religiously follow the TV programmes featuring the Dubai Shopping Festival to take my share of the colourful cities. In those programs, I saw expat families like mine, enjoying their life in a colorful world, in contrast to my mundane restricted life in a country next to UAE. My innocent eyes saw the glitter in their eyes, the love in the togetherness, bits and pieces of the whole world in a small city. I remember I would tell myself, that some day, I would go for the festival and buy a little something from every country’s stall. Well, that dream is still unfulfilled. My eyes has never witnessed the wonders of Dubai from land. Witnessing it from the sky, everytime you fly in Emirates airlines, with a connection in the Dubai Intl Airport doesn’t count.
So I was just wondering, how much that little city called Dubai transformed within a span of a few years. At times I wonder, if my little city, which I so dearly call home, would transform one day, to one that I would never be able to recognize someday. The thought scares me. The congestion in Batha and Hara, with its buzzing streets full of expats, small residential buildings and shopping complexes that are food to many. The roads that sell various things and sellers who run at the very sound of the Baladiya. The yellow trucks with yellow uniformed men, who clean the city when its residents are still waking up from their slumbers and going back home to rest after another day. Olaya, our developed part, which houses our dearest 2 towers – The Faisaliyyah (The Needle Tower) and Kingdom Tower (The Necklace Tower), the posh hotels and restaurants, that seemed to exist in another world, so different from mine. Malaz, another semi developed area. Deerah, with its traditional markets and mud structures and the court, majestically standing amidst the mud structures. Naseem, with our schools and quite residential villas and vehicle showrooms. And many other smaller parts unique in their own way. The malls, with its splendid infrastructure, bringing the world to us. The masjids, around every corner offering moments of peace. The main cross bridge in the Road, its been a part of my life since the day I started understanding things. We crossed it, daily twice, during our commute to and fro the school. That croos bridge with its swirling road, used to take my little mind wo the world beyond the worls infront of me.The parks with its date palms, lining the lanes, kids fearless, the bullies in the slides and swings waiting to push us around or scare us away. The 20 riyal pizzas, Qubs, Shawarmas, Broasteds, Kabsas and Mandi, that became the taste of our tongues, warming our plates, filling our stomachs. Everywhere you look, you can see people who has embraced the land odf deserts, put their faith into the blessed land of the two Great Mosques, to fill their stomachs and save their families back in their homeland.
The Riyadh that I knew and lived in was never the glamorous one filled with malls and brands and posh lifestyles. It was the Riyadh of the parched hearts, struggling to stand on their two feet to support their families, home for kids like us, whose parents hated the dryness and lack of the greenness, that they so closely held dear. For them, this was a place of livelihood because of no other choice, and for us, home. That shaped us to what we are, that consists of little bits and pieces of our being and memories.
That was the Riyadh, where the yellow uniformed street cleaners were underpaid, the cleaners of the two Great Mosques considered blessed, where you see expats, working their life away.
That was the Riyadh, which was hell, for the thieves who were punished severely, people beheaded publicly due to which crimes were less, for people who were wrongly jailed and punished with no money to pay the government to free them, no people to fend for in a foreign country, no love to be showered, treated like dirt by some Saudi, years and youth wasted away, bearing the harshness of the sun, toiling.
Like any other city, it is filled with secrets and pretenses. Secrets, of expats, royals and the common men. So deeply concealed.
It’s a land of tears, of lives lost in the face of fate, souls shattered in the name of livelihood.
That’s the purity of it, this multi-facetedness, this mix of people, culture withing the strong realm of the traditional culture and I am sure, you will see this in every major cities in the Middle East. Even beyond the glittering city of Dubai. This might have been the face and soul of Dubai once, before another face of glamour came into the forefront as its tag. And I wonder , 10 years down the lane, if Riyadh would be the same place that I lived in. That I grew up in. Will it lose its purity, its real face?
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 ! 😀 😀
Treat your parents with loving care…. For you will know their value, when you see their empty chair….
‘Why dont you go and study ? ‘
‘Will you keep quiet Mom, I don’t have any mood to do it ! ‘
‘Why dont you help me then ? ‘
‘ CAN I RELAX MYSELF FOR SOMETIME PEACEFULLY ? ‘
Such endless situations were and are part of our life. But have our perspective ever changed ? Have the way we dealt with such situation ever changed ?
Ever thought about why they bug you on almost everything that happens in your life ? Ever felt they always considered everything seriously even the things which you brushed off as unimportant ?
Everything remains as a question mark !
‘ WHY ? ‘ is the big question!
Because they care. because you are their children. They want everything to be perfect for you. Because its their duty to make you understand. Because they blame themselves if you go astray. Because they don’t want you to repeat the mistakes that they once did. And most of all because They love you! The list continues.
They are the reason that you have a future. They are the reason that you are here in this world. They are the reason that you sleep with peace. They are the reason for everything that you have.
But then have we ever realised the importance? Have you ever lived up to their expectations? Have you ever given them their share of happiness? A moment to be proud of you?
No? – Then you have missed a great feeling that keeps motivating you to make them more proud. To see a smile which defines every level of happiness !
You are blessed because you have parents.
You are blessed because they bug you.
You are blessed because there is someone to guide you all throughout.
Read this poem.
By Kamala Das ( Kamala Surayya/ Madhavikutty ). This is a poem from our English Syllabus. Makes you realise a lot.
Driving from my parent’s home to Cochin last Friday morning, I saw my mother, beside me, doze, open mouthed, her face ashen like that of a corpse and realised with pain but soon put that thought away, and looked out at young trees sprinting, the merry children spilling out of their homes, but after the airport’s security check, standing a few yards away, I looked again at her, wan, pale as a late winter’s moon and felt that old familiar ache, my childhood’s fear, but all I said was, see you soon, Amma, all I did was smile and smile and smile.
Yes. It’s a bitter truth. When we are so busy growing up, you don’t realize that your parents are growing old too. It’s not until they fade away one day , that we realise the value of the treasure that we had. And when they do, you just want to see them one more time even if it’s for one second. You just want to hear them speak to you, advice you or at least scold you ! There are millions out there regretting that they couldn’t give them a moment of comfort when their parents wanted it. A moment of presence when it was necessary !
And what do we see today. The lost look on old parents’ face spending their second childhood at a place where they were dumped off by their own children because they don’t have time for their parents. That look of longing of a presence that could fill their heart with love. Those parents lived for their children, earned for them to have a secure future when they could have used it for their own comfort. But no. They wouldn’t do that. They couldn’t. Why? Because they loved their children so much. Loved them more than their own lives. They couldnt sleep if their children were ill. Their children’s comfort was their happiness. Their children’s future was their future. Nothing was more important than that !
And what did they get in return? What did they get as a reward?
A Bed and Loneliness.
At a dumpage home.
What has the world come to? The people are chained by the heavy weight of hours, trying to get past all the thorns in life without understanding that their parents too crossed those thorns, bled for them to pave way for their children to succeed in life. Just because their children could have EVERYTHING!
People! Open your eyes. Realize your mistake and amend them before you are too late. And remember you have children too.
Because everything is uncertain.
You are uncertain.
The complete world stands on nothing but uncertainty.
Wallah I was crying when I penned this down. But this made me smile though. :’)
Love them. Make them Happy and you will realise that , that makes you happy !
Special Thanks : To my Mother, for making me regret what I did and realise everything. To Allah, for blessing me with MY PARENTS !
I just dunno why but I actually like this city. So full of life yet in their own circle of traditions. I like this place more than my place. Wookaay, I better hide from my buddies who hail from Calicut because we go all patriotic and fight like crazy supporting our own places by going defensive. So according to that I am against Calicut and a proud Malappuram – ian! 😀