A Journey to Kerela contd...
This is the continuation of my last blog.
We knew in Kathmandu that Bela had passed away 2 days before our flight to Kerela. She had a brain stroke in october 2006. Since then see was in coma. Evenif we planned to see her unfortunately we couldn't meet her while she was living. We reached Kerala after 5 days of her death. Even then we were together with Tommy her husband for few days. Other friends of Bela and Tommy were also there when we reached.
Bela in her charming face
Bela was a good friend of Nepal. She worked for democratic peace in Nepal. Neplese people shouldn't forget her contribution. Though we knew in Kathmandu we had to pay our homage to Bela so we had to go to champakulum for the deceased beloved Bela.
She was born in very very traditional and strict Hindu family in India and Tommy was born in traditional Christian family but both of them were not devout religious persons. Her final resting place was the cemetery of the champakulum church. " Tommy told us that if he had land he would have buried Bela in that land rather than on the church ground. The next day we went to Bela's tomb, lighted candels and put flowers. Then we stood in silence in memory of sweet Bela. She liked to stay in Champakulum that's why Tommy took her from Kathmandu to Champakulum in the hope that she may recover.
Bela resting in champakulum church cemetory.
Bela was really very nice person, bold, courageous and intelligent. She was good writer, editor and journalist and a master of English language. Swanaam says, as you speak on she could make it an article out of it. Such was her capability.
Champakulum is a village situated on the bank of Pamba river. It is 80 km from Cochin, the spice capital of the world and 30 km from Allepy, the Venice of south Asia. Actually we didn’t know it is so far from cochin and far from city area as well. Champakulum is the rice bowl of Kerela. Shyam and Biju had to travell for 6 hours to receive us. But for them it had become used to.
Champakulum is surrounded by rice fields. On the both banks of Pamba river there were coconut trees and groves. On the river bank first time in my life I saw an almond tree, a cashew nut tree and a clove tree.
An almond tree on the bank of Pamba River.
The boats are the means of transportation. There were many sizes of the boats for carrying people, goods and fishing.
For the site seeing of famous Kerela back water, there are special boats. These boats are floating hotel called house boats. House boats are traditional boats with modern facilities. By day time tourists float on the backwaters watching the day to day life of Kerelite backwater and by night they rest in the boat itself. After dusk boats are not allowed to move.
small house boat
A big house boat.
Kerela means land of coconut. Coconut oil and milk are very much used for cooking food. For me it was so difficult to eat for the first few days. Later, I became accustomed anyhow.
The Pamba river, houses and coconut groves.
We stayed for five days in Tommy's uncle's house. Though Tommy was in mourning he took us for boat ride in Pamba River. He has his own boat and he used to drive it. Next day he took us to show us the fishing in the river. But there were little fish in the river. The river was polluted with plastic, bottles and water hyacinth plants.
A boat ride in the back water ( Babu in red, Tommy in white and Swanaam in check shirt)
Fishing in back waters
Fishermen returning back with little fish from a big river
Swanaam with fresh water fish bought from the fishermen.
That fish was around 5 Kg.
The river bank is hardly half a meter from the river surface. So this place is also in vulnerable situation due to global warming. Keralite call this place as "God's own country". If temperature due to global warming is not controlled then the God's own country will be submerged.
On the Christmas Eve we had a plan to go to the mid night mass in the local church. I had been to Sunday morning mass but never been to midnight mass. I was very much interested to attend but there was a problem of the boat so I couldn't attend. I felt very bad.
I would like to share one of the interesting things. We used to have our food in uncle's house and to sleep there was another house three kilometers away. And we used to take the motor boat for the journey. One day we had a late dinner. It was round about midnight so we took our boat to go to sleep. On the way the motor boat stopped. It was only about 500 meters from uncle's house but Tommy couldn't start the motor. So we had to row and punt the boat but there was only one paddle and one bamboo for punting. We weren't skilled in rowing and punting boats. Instead of going to our sleeping place the boat went to other direction. After two hours we reached our destination which was hardly 10 min. ride in a motor boat.
Next morning we tried to find the problem of the engine. Alas! the engine was alright but there was no fuel in the fuel tank. We laughed at our foolishness and went back to uncle's house for breakfast.
Next day Tommy went to his father in law's house in Pune with brother in law. We left champakulum for Trivendrum, the capital of Kereala but that is another story.
I want to hear from you. Thank you very much for your continuous support.
Have a good day!
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