Photo Essay



A sudden powerful whiff of coconut oil assaults the olfactory senses and awakens one from sweet rollicking slumber. The train is chugging on and breakfast announces its arrival in loud cacophonic drones of 'chai-chai-chai-chai'.

The moment you get the chance, you plant yourself at the open doorway, inhaling the fresh green air of Kerala and feasting your eyes upon the scenic beauty around you. Ah, Kerala! Earthy. Natural.

You can indeed catch sight of God in Kerala.

A father teaches his son how to row a canoe, and a flock of ducks form a blanket over the backwaters as they swim across, wagging their behinds charmingly.

As Euripedes wrote, 'The sea washes away the stains and wounds of the world,' and so you laugh as the waves slap you and assault you so lovingly, like an old friend greeting you again. You are kicked off your feet and whisked away into the sunset, quite literally, as foamy waters engulf you – reminding you of the pure natural joy that comes only when one lives with nature.

'It seems to me that we all look at nature too much, and live with her too little. I discern great sanity in the Greek attitude. They never chattered about sunsets... but they saw that the sea was for the swimmer, and the sand for the feet of the runner.'

- Oscar Wilde in 'De Profundis'

In Kerala it was that I discovered Oscar Wilde for myself. In Kerala, I appreciated classical music. In Kerala, I re-learnt (or unlearnt) how to sketch.

In Kerala, I understood the ideas of sacredness and the depths to which they are manifested in the world. And how closely man wants to live with the sacred.

In Kerala, I stood at the tip of India and enjoyed the breeze of three seas on my face.

In Kerala, I saw beauty in ugly things – in the mould covered bark of a dripping rubber tree; in moss and dry leaves.

In walking barefoot.

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10 responses

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (18 Dec 2011):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • Claire Crocker

    Claire Crocker gave props (18 Dec 2011):

    A glimpse of somewhere I had no idea existed... such beauty and yet, like everywhere, some challenges. Great essay & evocative photos!

  • ajtiM

    ajtiM (Deleted) said (18 Dec 2011):

    beautiful story and choice of pictures! yeah.

  • sandra d'souza

    sandra d'souza gave props (19 Dec 2011):

    gorgeous pictures of one of my beloved places...and so beautifully written ,niharika..voted!!

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes gave props (20 Dec 2011):

    Your flowing words and vivid images leave me feeling like I got to experience your bit of heaven. So glad I could vote twice for this outstanding essay.

  • sobin anto

    sobin anto gave props (23 Dec 2011):

    beautifully written niharika well done!!

  • sobin anto

    sobin anto said (23 Dec 2011):

    i'm very proud to tell you that i belong to that beautifull God's own country

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (3 Jan 2012):

    Just wonderful my dear Niharika... I wish this become the story of the week....Great effort.. keep it up...Vote!!!

  • David Jeffries

    David Jeffries gave props (22 Jan 2012):

    Fantastic series

  • Michaela K.

    Michaela K. gave props (13 Mar 2012):


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