Trip to Kuzhippilly Beach & Narikulam Tharavadu

100 Happy Days – Day 90

I had made a bucketlist 2016 when this year began and one of the elements in it was to make at least 5 trips this year. I don’t think the number went very well. But as unexpected as life could be, I found myself in a few immensely beautiful places a couple of days back – Kuzhippilly Beach, Narikulam Tharavadu and Nedungad Boat Jetty.

Writing professional exams could just wear you off big time. So, the five of us and a qualified CA decided to meet up, spend a night together and go on a trip the next day. Nothing fancy, somewhere in or around Kochi. After a night full of clicking pictures, non-stop chattering and barely few hours of sleep, we drowsily picked ourselves up and went for breakfast. Nothing else could shun your drowsiness better than food. So after the breakfast, we were on fire! We made our way to our first destination. The Kuzhippilly beach.

Lined with pine trees and rusted benches, this beach is more beautiful than the famous Cherai beach. Situated in the outskirts of Kochi, Kuzhippilly beach is around 4 kms (Source: Google Map) away from Cherai. For those who prefer less crowd and more shade, this place is the best option. With lots of tiny brown crabs (I think they are called Sand Crabs) running around and emerging from the sand, and the thatched roof Umbrellas, this is one of the most picturesque beaches near Kochi.

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Pine trees at the Beach

We spent about 2 hours in the waters, clicking pictures & walking amidst the shady pine trees. We found a beautiful shell and, after ensuring that the owner had deserted his home, my friend pocketed it.

When the thought of food started creeping into our heads, we made our way to destination number two, the highlight of the trip (Food always comes first) – Narikulam Tharavadu.

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A View enroute to Narikulam Tharavadu
Kerala - God's own country
Those white cranes were everywhere!

Tharavadu is generally an ancestral home in Kerala where people lived as a joint family. Nowadays, most of these families have split and live separately, but many of the ancestral homes remain. Situated near St. Augustine Church, Nedungad, Nayarambalam, is the Narikulam Tharavadu. Set amidst the lap of nature, with greenery all around and a canal behind it; they have preserved the house so well that, if you are a Keralite, a wave of nostalgia hits you the moment you enter the premises. Such houses are the true essence of Kerala.

Paul chettan gave us a very warm welcome and patiently explained everything about the place. He answered all our queries, showed us around and made us feel at home. As they went about preparing our food, we were left to explore the place.

One of the things that fascinated me was, the way they had managed waste and artifacts that were no longer in use. They had used dried seeds and parts of the palm tree to decorate the house. We even found two shoes outside with plants in them. They also had grown plants in an old, rusted Kindi (pitcher) and an Aattukallu (Wet Grinder). The base stone, Arakkallu from the grinding Apparatus was used as the base for the pitcher. They gave an aesthetic look, placed around the Nadumuttam (The central area with a meshed ceiling) and never for a second did they seem out of place.

The plant in the pitcher placed atop the base of the grinder. What you see behind is the Nadumuttam.
The plant in the pitcher placed atop the base of the grinder. What you see behind is the Nadumuttam.

My favorite part about these houses is the Nadumuttam. During the day, it is the source of natural light that gives a mellow glow to the surroundings and during the night, you can watch the stars. Don’t get me started on how it looks when it begins to rain. I can’t believe that these houses are dwindling with time!

A peek at the interiors of a typical tharavadu
A peek at the interiors of a typical tharavadu

We spent a lot of time outside, near the canal awed at the abundance of nature, clicking pictures and wondering why we never got to know about this place earlier. A photographer’s paradise, my friends simply couldn’t stop clicking pictures. Our grumbling tummies showed us the way to the dining table and now I’d call it a Foodie’s paradise too!

So we saw this irresistible spread on the table… Er… Isn’t the post getting a bit too lengthy? Besides, I am reminded of all the food we ate that day and I so need a break. I’ll be back with part 2 of this post; all the yummy food and a surprise thereafter. Heads up: The Food part is focused on the Non-vegetarians & it is going to be a bit heavy. So, ensure that you are filled up. If you wish to visit this Homestay, the details will be given in the next post – Narikulam Tharavadu and Nedungad Boat Jetty (Part II)🙂

Image courtesy for the first 3 pics – My dear friend Hrusheekesh Anilkumar

The Ocean Within Me

You are walking through a deserted street. You have no idea where you are. You just know that you need to keep walking. There are trees on both sides. They might extend to form the woods or maybe a mighty forest. You do not know. You walk further and the chirping of birds and crickets and croaking of the frogs greet you. You decide to venture into the woods and plunge into the greens towards your right.

The dry, fallen leaves crackle and crunch beneath your feet. You are more aware of the sound of the woods now and the pressing cold. You walk cautiously, ensuring that your feet always meet solid Earth. You never know what lies beneath those layers of leaves and twigs. As you walk deeper into the woods, your ears pick a new sound. You move further and the sound doesn’t stop. It is more like an ongoing music with swishes, splashes & hushes. You mistake it to be the sound of oncoming rains. But after a while you realise that the sound remains where it is. As you move, the woods become thinner, you find yourself moving faster and the hushes becoming louder.

Before you get the first glimpse of the view at the end of the woods, you realize where you are headed. With the next few steps, you feast your eyes on the vastness of the milky white ocean, your ears already well accustomed to the waves crashing over the rocks. With no companion, all you could do is look at the Ocean and you look deep. Into the vastness. You look at the waves that refuse to give up. The water that curls into beautiful waves and crash against the rocks.

What do you feel now?

What do you feel when you look at the Sea?

Happiness? Peace? Excitement? Awe?

Fear!

For me, it was fear. The sound greeted me first and the sight of the vastness followed. I wondered what would happen if the Sea decided to come forth and never return. Every time the waves crashed, I shuddered at the sound.

The curling waves
The curling waves

I tried closing my eyes and the fear increased manifold. I couldn’t keep them closed for even a minute. I knew that if the Sea was to swallow me, I wouldn’t escape. But I felt safer when my eyes were open. Frailties of the human mind! It sometimes believes with so much fervour that we do not question it the second time. I sat on a bench and watched the waves lick the shore again and again and again.

Amidst my fear, there was this urge to go closer to the waves. I wanted to touch them. Feel the waters. The more I watched the waves curl, the more I felt restless. I began to walk towards the waters. Huge boulders bordered the Sea and though one could climb over them and get down into the Sea, people refrained from doing so. There was a board that forbade anyone from getting into the waters. I walked up to the rocks and stood there, my eyes fixed on the waves. A few minutes ago, I feared the sound and now, I was mesmerised by the magnificence.

I prayed for a huge wave to crash on the rocks before me so that I could feel the waters and yet when I suspected that a wave was bigger than usual, I kept my distance. Oh! I was torn between my fears and the urges.

The Sun had vanished, the skies threatened with heavy, grey clouds hanging from heavens and the waves were getting furious. I stood at that point where the rocks began and watched the show. The Sea was becoming more beautiful as the dusk approached, with each wave more intriguing than the one before. And my urge to walk into the waters were stronger. So much so that, there was a voice egging me on to sit on the boulders.

She roared
She roared

As the realisation dawned on me, I began to retreat, horrified. My initial fear had been replaced by awe which was now replaced by sheer horror. I realised my fears. It wasn’t the Ocean that I feared. I feared myself. I feared my mind and its power to admire everything beautiful. Its ability to seduce and lure me into temptations and its cunningness to convince me that whatever I was doing was normal.

My fear wasn’t that the Ocean would rise and never retreat. My fear was that I’ll walk into her permanent embrace.

Now, I am in awe of the Ocean and my mind’s prowess!

Linking this to the Daily Post’s prompt ‘Awe’.

 

 

Conversing With the Waves

100 Happy Days – Day 86

Happiness is a chair, a book and the threshold of an Ocean and not knowing which one makes you happier.

Every Bibliophile’s dream – A serene spot with a view, some peace and a book. Behold! An evening at the beach, watching the waves breaking against the rocks, holding a book and finding a nice spot to read.

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The Book facing the Sea

I flipped a few pages as the Ocean’s music filled my ears. There was a feeble breeze and the rocks were drenched with water from both the Sea and from the drizzle that had just stopped. The tides were high, way before twilight and it looked as though the Sea would rise any time and gobble me up. I thought it was the rains, but it was something else.

I had come to this very same beach yesterday. I sat atop a bench, cross-legged, closed my eyes and tried to meditate. It took me barely few minutes to abandon my efforts. Not because I couldn’t sit still, but because of what was before me. I looked around at all the people meditating. How could one close his eyes while facing these magnificent waters, I wondered.

Now, I was mocking myself. I walked to this very same beach with a book in hand. How could I delve in one’s ecstasy and ignore the other? I couldn’t read. Not as long as I wanted to watch the Ocean. And I couldn’t watch the waves if I read. I wanted them both – my spouse and my love.

 

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But Alas! I couldn’t handle them both

The Sea threatened, in her deep throaty voice, to swallow me up. Oh! Well, that explains the angry high tides. I must have hurt her pride by bringing along my Love. Sure enough, the book remained untouched while I conversed with the waves.