Sep 17, 2008

The Marari experience

When a three day vacation is in the offing and you will be starting from Dindugul in Tamilnadu, what better place to visit than the lovely Kerala? It has almost become a ritual for me to visit Kerala once a year. And everytime I go, I want to keep coming again and again. Combining this vacation with my wedding anniversary celebration, the travel planning part of my brain got activated. I looked into different resorts and travel possibilities, booked the train tickets and finally narrowed down to Marari Beach resort in a village named Mararikulam near Alleppey. I love planning a vacation and it makes me realize that travel planning could be considered as an alternate career :-)

The resort is around 60 kms from Ernakulam railway station. With the exorbitant charges for pickup claimed by the resort, we decided to arrange on our own. Thanks to the taxis right outside the station, we were able to reach the village for a reasonable price. The vast expanse of the greenery inside the resort took us by surprise. After the registrations, hubby and I headed to the restaurant for a cup of tea. We couldn't wait to go near the quiet beach. It took us some time to accept the fact that the clean beach was all for ourselves. A few fishermen were setting off at a distance. Since this is the end of off-season, very few visitors from abroad were staying in the resort. A row of hammocks beside the shore was a perfect way to relax and unwind. While admiring the serene surroundings and the tall coconut trees, our stomachs started to growl and we had a nice, sumptuous breakfast. There are many activities that one can take up within the resort. Country Boat rides and sunset cruises are also available but at an extra cost. As we have already experienced these boat rides in Kumarakom, we decided to spend the time in the resort for the next 2.5 days.

The naturalist took us around the resort, explaining about different flora and fauna. The vegetable garden, recycling mechanisms, bio-composts and other treatment plants show the environment friendly mechanisms they have been adopting. He is a very good photographer and helped us to take some amazing snaps for spiders, butterflies and fishes. It was a bright and sunny day and our moods were upbeat. Lazing around on the hammocks with the breeze gradually taking us to a short nap - one might appreciate the complete relaxation. We spent the evening in the beach, enjoying the sunset and collecting sea shells. Even the waves didn't want to disturb the peace prevailing in the beach that they decided to keep it low.

Cookery show by the chef gave a glimpse of the preparation styles of traditional fish curry of Kerala. Having shown tremendous interest during the show, the chef was wondering why I didn't taste the dish. A vegetarian by nature but doesn't mind watching the preparation of non-veg dishes - that's me! The day ended with a romantic, candle light dinner and live classical music.

Thunderstorms and heavy rains woke us up the next morning. We prayed that the sky clears up fast so we could get bathed in sun's rays and get tanned. Our prayers were answered and we celebrated with a bicycle ride around the village. The roads were very bad but there was just no traffic. While hubby enjoyed a swim in the pool, I finished reading an interesting book "A year by the sea". To wrap up the relaxation process, we tried out some meditation in the evening along with a guide. The next morning was the tryst with beautiful butterflies in the garden, with my camera trying to capture the beauty as much as it can. After a heavy lunch, it was time to bid goodbye to the resort and head to the railway station. The sun didn't want to bid farewell so it had sent its dear friends, black clouds and downpour.

We just loved this place and it was a memorable experience. CGH Earth does it again, after our superb Coconut Lagoon experience. A trip to Marari Beach can relax, refresh and rejuvenate.

let the rambling begin

Although unattended and unvisited, I don't want my blog to end up like the hundreds of blogs that started around the same time as mine. I wouldn't call this huge gap as a writer's block. I believe a block would occur when you sit down to write something but words don't come out. But this didn't happen to me, rather I was busy shuffling between many things that I didn't happen to sit down in the first place and ponder. I need to allocate some time to reflect and analyze my course of action.

This brings to my mind an interesting book that I got to read - "A year by the sea" by Joan Anderson. Although the perspective is different, I can relate to the protogonist's feelings in some way. Joan aged 50 years feels that she has been living her whole life running around with family responsibilities and taking care of her kids' demands. One fine day, she decides to let go of everything and move to a small cottage by the sea shore for a year. Living by her own means, reflecting on how her life turned out to be and drawing inspiration from the sea and seals, she turns out to be a strong and happy person. With no rules to abide by, she sets a course for herself, takes risks and tries out many new activities like selling fish which she wouldn't dare to dream about on a normal day. It was an interesting and thoughtful read.

One starking perspective was the engagement with nature that can be a healing and a rejuvenating experience. Living in a metropolitan city like Bangalore with rushing around all the time, such engagement seems to be rare but those few moments can have a big impact. For instance, the other day I went to a nearby grocery store to get some vegetables. It was a weekday evening and so the crowd was comparatively less. The fresh vegetables of varied colors and shapes, the aroma of coriander and mint leaf bunches and the sheer variety of vegetables got me all cheered up. I bought minimal quantities of different veggies and my refrigerator is now neatly stocked up. I have been trying different South Indian dishes for dinner these days, call it the repercussion effect.

Last Sunday was rather a special tryst with nature. With cloudy and gloomy days gone past, the sun was shining brightly. The afternoon rays entered my living room through my orange colored curtains, giving a bright orangish feel to my home. The mini red roses in my garden blossomed like a flower bouquet, adding more sheen to the green grass. The squeaking squirrels were running around and the tiny butterflies were playing with the flowers. Such a beautiful afternoon cannot be complete without a hot cup of cardamom tea. It was a heavenly feeling and hoping to have more such moments every week.

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