Showing posts from September, 2014

James Darragh in Aleppey

Tracing the curious story of ‘The King of the Coast’, an American in Kerala
There is a fascinating song ‘kayalinarike’ which was originally sung by Mehaboob and recently re-sung by a favorite of mine, Shahabaz Aman about Cochin’s past, where they mention a number of foreign companies which used to do business in Cochin. Well, perhaps then and before that they were all entrenched in the port and backwaters of Alappuzha- Alleppey or the Venice of Kerala, a place that later declined to become a sleepy town and a forgotten port. But many will not know that there was a time when it was a major port of Travancore and termed ‘second to Bombay only’. It was a port created with a purpose and it served it eminently, which was to break the Dutch blockade of the coast and establish a Travancore monopoly of all its produce. To further promote trade all kinds of foreigners (people from other regions like Malabar, Surat, Bombay, Chettis, Konkanis and so on)  were invited to work under a commercial d…

And the waves became silent

Parayail Abraham Tharakan – Fondly remembered
Our association started sometime in 2006 after both of us had decided to enter the blogosphere.  Since then I have followed his voluminous output with so much respect, so much interest and much kinship, for we had similar tastes though so apart in age (That comparison was not to signify how far in age he was, but how young at heart he was). Interestingly we became good friends after he helped me source an article on Mehaboob the Singer. We had never met and even though Abe, that was how I called him, invited me on a couple of occasions to his ancestral estate located at Olavipe as his village was called, I never managed to get to traveling down south to meet him and his family. I think he was bit miffed by that, and I had always had that lapse prick my conscience, and it continues to do so.
Abe communicated less after his heart attack in 2009, but continued his presence on his blog as well as Mysore blog park, a portal where both he and I c…