Culture in Kochi
Trip Start Jan 16, 2012
59Trip End Jul 11, 2012
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“Tea, madam?” A short while later, he was back with a tray of two glasses of steaming black tea, no sugar, the way we've come to like it since learning from the vehement guide at the Munnar Tea Museum that drinking tea with milk and sugar is incorrect (INCORRECT, he emphasized for the benefit of the Indians for whom chai means loads of sugar and milk).
The house was three-stories in a neighbourhood of narrow streets and lanes
Soon after that, at 8 a.m., I was on my back on the wooden stage of the Kerala Kathakali Centre. It was time for the morning ragas, one hour of sitar and tabla music, and the six or seven of us gathered in the peaceful theatre were invited to sit or lie down as we pleased to meditate to the music. The contrast to the theatre two nights before was extreme: we’d been packed in there with a full house of tourists to see a sampling of kathakali dance, a traditional Keralan royal art form that had been revived in the 1930s. The dancers had spent almost two hours making themselves up with all-natural paints, and a mask specialist had glued stylized paper beards on their faces. In the scene that we saw, Prince Bhima fights Baka, a “violent, murderous forest-dwelling demon.” Prince Bhima wins by killing Baka, but only after a lot of threats, insults, and significant eye-rolling, mouth mashing, and hand gestures, as well as twirling around in magnificent skirts in time to the drums and sung narration. His last words to the beast included, “I’ll rip out your heart!” The mayhem of the fight was all cleared away in time for the morning ragas, and I spent a blissful hour lying on the dimmed stage, transported by the strains of the sitar and rhythm of the tablas. Dan and I returned that evening for a fantastic concert of Indian flute and two types of drums (mridangam and ganjeera). The drummer’s hand that we could see moved so fast it was a blur, and the flute was ethereal
Another highlight of our Kochi stop was meeting up with my brother and sister-in-law’s friends, who packed up everything in Vancouver and moved their family (two children, 8 & 10) to India to travel and work on a business here. They are having such fun living here and travelling in the region, and it was a great chance to learn a few tips from the expat point of view. You meet people like this who are fully enjoying their unconventional life, and you are inspired to make of your life what you want. As we all agreed, “life is not a dress rehearsal.”