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Showing posts from 2012

A wedding to savor

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Last month, I was at a house warming, as my classmate and friend who had moved to US from China had finally moved into his new house. It was here that I met Ammal (let me call her that, in deference), and got talking to the 70 plus but perky lady. She was asking my wife where we were from. When she said Kerala, her face changed, and virtually blossomed. She exclaimed that she too hailed from Kerala and would be delighted to talk proper Malayalam after ages. Her offspring were more adept with Tamil, and that she missed conversing in her real tongue. When she heard that I was from Palghat, she was happier, for she hailed from Palghat too. When we zoomed the GPS down to where in Palghat and I said Pallavur, she was ecstatic; she was from the neighboring village Kunisseri. And so we got talking of people, of events and happenings in that part of the world, a very small part, less than a speck on the globe. As we talked, I realized that our small villages were so different from the hustle …

The Chinese, Tea and the Nilgiris

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I was getting deeper and involved in a topic that I was researching on, getting really engrossed tracking the movements of medieval Chinese sailors crossing the China seas to go to places like Quilon and Calicut. The answer I was seeking was elusive and some of the books and material I had at hand were not getting me the answer, and Google results were also not too cooperative. In one of those quirky moments, it directed me to a nice blog by Nina Varghese writing tales about the blue mountains of Nilgiris. The article was about a group of Chinese convicts in Nilgiris. I recalled vaguely about the mention of these people by Edgar Thruston in one of his anthropology books and also Muthaia’s book on the planters. While the latter had been returned to the library months ago, the former was very much at hand and so with a huge load of thanks to Nina for directing me to the story she started, let me get started.


Tea – That was what it was, and just the other day, I had come across two women…

Kayamkulam Kochunni – The Robin Hood of Kayamkulam

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Every place with some history has somebody like Robin Hood in their lore and legends. Kerala had one as well, and the minds of people warm up when they hear and talk about them. As we know, this person has been talked about for the last 80 or so years and one or two movies have been made about his life, not to forget the Amar Chitra Katha comic book that children devour. I myself was lucky, for I heard it first from my paternal aunt with whom I grew up as a child, for she would read me stories from the Aithihyamala. Though she was somewhat stern, and not given to blowing up the account, she would still put flesh and blood to the story, as she read and I would listen carefully and my mind would wander thinking about those locales, the people, the ambience. To this day that wandering mind has not come to rest, I suppose.

The man behind it all spent some 40 years in this world, and was certainly a troubled person to be living a life of crime or a life spent balancing wealth and inequalit…

When Tomorrow Comes….

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I was sitting with my cup of coffee, checking out the latest news on the newspaper and thinking how long I would continue reading the newspaper. The feel of the paper, the smell of ink and all of that is going away soon. Newsweek just announced that their December issue is going to be its last on print. Reading the WSJ, I am wondering if that fine paper too will take the same route. Well, I for one would be sad about it, for there is nothing like stretching back and unraveling the big and wide paper, listening to the crackle and scanning back and forth, top to bottom, side to side. Whatever said and done, you can never get that right on a 10 or 12 inch screen, e-ink or not, even for a tech savvy guy like me. But then you cannot question economics, profit and loss and such things, for they drive decisions, not some longing reader’s mindset…


Before the reader wonders what all this has got to do with the subject line, I better get to the topic. It did have something to do with the first …