Have you ever experienced a silence so loud and roaring that felt like a dull noise?
It’s the sort of silence that reigns at sunrise in the backwaters, the water stained with warm shades of orange and pink and life awakening onshore.
Kerala was a dream, period. Just a kaleidoscopic coloured dream.
Since I came back from India a month ago I’ve been wondering how I was going to introduce you to this magic land that I was lucky enough to discover thanks to Kerala Tourism and the Kerala Blog Express experience.
It’s hard when you’ve lived such an incredible experience that you feel words are never going to be enough, so I’m just going to throw it all out… are you coming with me? Here it’s an introduction to Kerala throught the senses.
Kerala, at the southern tip of the subcontinent, is India, but in a different way, a softer, more subtle way, they say.
It’s a land of contrasts, noises, odours and of incredible, fake looking landscapes.
Sometimes you look around and you wonder if there’s a painter somewhere who’s making it all up!
Kerala is the fresh, earthy smell of tea plantations, heightened by the tropical rain, and the sweet and sour odor of the curry that fills your nostrils since you wake up.
It’s the scent of warm oil used for Ayurvedic treatments and the less sensuos, nauseating stink of the pans filled with overfried oil in the streets.
Kerala is the smell of the fresh coconuts that some smiling people are always ready to hand to you when you check in in a luxury resort and, if you didn’t know, that’s exactly what “Kerala” means: the land of coconuts.
Kerala is a land where conventions don’t count: the communism party keeps getting re-elected since 1957 and three religions are able to live peacefully together, without ever crashing, in the same way in which the coloured rickshaws manage to jostle through the crowds without ever losing speed.
Kerala is the stinging burn of the spices on the tongue and the ever changing taste of the chai; it’s the powdery flavor of the tea and the forbidden taste of cold Kingfishers found in a hidden bar.
Of all the place I’ve been, of all the place I’ve known, I’ ve never seen such happy eyes, so many beaming smiles born with no real reasons, the smile of someone who look at life with an optimism that, I’m afraid to say, us westerners don’t have.
In my ears still echo the laughs of the girls who wave at you and then for a second cover their face with the hands, giggling embarassed, when you ask them to take a selfie with you, and I still dream of the 37 additional smiles of the people who were part of this adventure with me.
Kerala is the tropical storm that catches you all of a sudden while you are kayaking in the middle of the backwaters, passing through villages and scattered houses where life goes by marked by the swing of nature.
And you can’t stop laughing, and you lift your face and hands up in the sky and feel the warm rain flowing incessant on your skin, soaking you up till every centimeter of you is wet.
Kerala is indeed like a swamping storm, it’s a land unlike any other place I’ve ever been, and the more the days went by and the more the departure date came closer, I wanted more and more.
After all these days, there’s no one morning I wake up without wanting to go back, to that senses overload I love and hate at the same time.
Because Kerala is a place that stays with you, no matter what.
Would you like to visit Kerala?