Cochin In First Person !

I have been in Kochi or Cochin for the past three days. Am writing this through the balckberry ! Thats something that am doing new !

From air, Cochin looks so beautiful. Green seems to be de-rigueur. On landing, there still is green. I have been here before. I realise i have been missing this place !

Through the taxi’s windscreen, i still see green. But now, green is interspersed with large hoardings calling you to loosen your purse strings and buy either jewelry or an apartment !

There are so many hoardings for Jewelry and Apartment complexes that it bewilders me. ‘Gullff money’ says the van driver. I want to believe him. ‘We are a 100 % literate state’ he says. I smile. A weak smile.

Through the window, I read the names on the stores. Keralites have some ‘different’ names. Between a Joe, Joy and Jose they seem to have covered up the commercial establishment. I count four stores for each name, within a space of two streets. The Keralite J!


We are on a backwater boat ride. Our guide takes us through some ‘interesting’ places. He calls. Our boats stop at villages, where few folks demonstrate toddy tapping, rope making etc. Having seen such & similar activities, I think that this was part of conducted tours for the ‘foreigner’, who perhaps would look at the whole exercise with awe.

I look around, only to find some of our own group members looking at these in ‘awe’! I juggle the meaning of ‘foreigner’ in my mind. And alter it of course.

A foreigner. In native land !!


I sit in the boat and as the boatman rows. I access my mail on the phone. I see a mail. I see it is from a fellow blogger : Dinu. He hasn’t seen me. I don’t know him, other than through his ‘Offline Blog’ !

He asks if I am on Cochin, and leaves a number for me to call. I wonder how he knew. And then, I realize, that ‘Twitter’ has been fed well !

I get excited. And call. I hear his voice. We speak.

This is the first time, I plan to meet a a fellow blogger who I don’t know. Virtual connections shed their illusory image and gets real !

Supercool. I think. Whew !

Coconut trees dot the skyline. Inbetween them, are waterways, and we continue to be on the boat. The bulging biceps of a thin boatman, seem to have a magical effect on boat as it cuts though water & weeds give way.

‘Till 1992, all these were paddy fields’, our guide says. My eye brows raise. ‘1992 ?’ I ask.

He understands the surprise in my question, and quips, ‘in 1991, Kerela became 100% literate and that has meant that the sons and daughters of farmers no longer work here. So, these are all coconut farms now’, he says.

He says ‘1991’ with a level of definiteness, as though, one morning in 1991, Kerela achieved 100 % literacy and reading this in the morning newspaper, the farmer stopped his kids from going to work over breakfast. And converted his paddy fields to coconut trees by lunch time !

Sure it didn’t happen this way, I think. That’s besides the point. For the boat has moved on. To another part of the Coconut farm, which was once a Paddy field. Till 1992.

8 thoughts on “Cochin In First Person !

  1. Pearl says:

    Literate in ’91. An admirable and definite date. 🙂

    There are many places in the U.S. that, even as a citizen, I would feel foreign: Texas, Missouri, really anywhere in the South… The rural areas, too, of the country…

    Love your writing, Kavi. It is colorful and, somehow, kind…


  2. dinu says:

    are you still in Cochin ?
    Yea, I got the news from twitter LOL

  3. Kavi,
    I had a fabulous time in Cochin back in 1992. One of the fondest memories that I treasure with me. Beautiful weather. The only place where they serve spicy beef fry at coffee shops. Man, I would travel to Cochin again just for that…..

    It must have been fun to take a boat on the backwaters..



  4. HOBO says:

    (Kerela achieved 100 % literacy and reading this in the morning newspaper, the farmer stopped his kids from going to work over breakfast)
    I am thinking…

  5. Priya says:

    Are the pictures invisible to us? Glad you are enjoying your trip in Kerala.

  6. What a great mix of how-people-think , what-is-progress-and-what-technology-identifies-it.

    To the locals, coming up in the world meant replacing their paddy fields with coconuts. and investing in quick-return rural tourism.

    To us, it is sitting in a backwaters ride-boat, manually rowed by a muscular chap, and going click-click on your fancy phone, to connect again to the world you were trying to get away from. 🙂

    Would love to see some pictures….

  7. Ganesh says:


    have avery nice trip and of course expecting the photo’s.

  8. Kavi says:

    Pearl : Thank You ! The comment about the US was revealing. I guess every part of each country has something so special !!

    Dinu : I thought as much ! I had to get back here quickly, with the conference going on pretty tight schedule. Will catch up with you for sure !

    Praveen : Ah ! The food ! The weather, the green, the people, the dance…the sun & the still sea ! All are a great package !

    Hobo: ? Let me know..

    Priya : Didnt click that many. Official trip you see ! But the ones that i did..are here!

    Ugich : The ironies of life come face to face. So quite often that sometimes, that in itself is an irony of sorts !! 🙂

    Ganesh : Thanks ! I hope some of these pictures bring some memories and smiles !

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