I live in a country that goes half way to boiling point in summer (Kuwait in summer = human tandoori). I have lived in Mumbai where the humidity on an average day is about 65 %(*1). But nothing and I mean nothing can prepare you for Kerala in April.
The average humidity for the month of April in Kochi, Kerala is well into the 70s and the temperature ranges anywhere between 35-40 degrees Celsius (*2). Now combine that with a heavy wedding sari, make up and stilettos, the result is your very own personal hell.
This is where the best friend angle comes into play. Because when your best friend is getting married, you don’t ask Google to spit out the “Best season to visit blah & blah”, you just pack your bags and leave and expect God to be kind.
In spite of all this, it would be unfair to not mention the fact that I have not seen so many shades of green in one place, ever! The lush landscape even if only momentarily makes you forget about your discomfort, mesmerising you with its sheer beauty.
Houses of pink, green, purple appear in all their splendour with back yards dotted with coconut and/or rubber trees. The ‘mallus’ (the universal term of endearment for the dwellers of Kerala), are not afraid to experiment with colours.
On the drive from Maramon to Pala, the woods were lovely dark and deep and the roads – a rollercoaster ride. It’s was difficult to determine if we were nauseous with the beauty of the landscape or the winding roads.
I visited the Aranmula village to see the local artisans that create mirrors from metals instead of glass (I did manage to sneak in a little bit of sight seeing, special thanks to the Brother in Law of the bride). Legend has it that 8 families of experts in temple arts and craft were brought to Aranmula from Tamil Nadu in connection with works in the Parthasarathy Temple centuries ago.
While working with the bronze to make a crown for the Lord Parthasarathy, to their surprise the artisans discovered the reflective property of one particular copper-tin alloy (*3). The metal composition of the glass has since been a guarded secret by the artisan families passed on from one generation to the next. The mirror is said to bring good luck, wealth and prosperity to your life. And guess who got one?
The night before the wedding we stayed at a heritage home in Pala, Kottayam. A bamboo path, flowing water close by and a house made of wood spell a dream weekend getaway for a traveler and a nightmare for a bride to be dressed in white for her wedding (say hello to muck and mosquitoes).
No trip is complete until you have spoken about the food, and in case you are a person who generally likes north Indian flavours, has a problem with spices and would rather eat vegetarian food, my suggestion is pack your food from home. The curry (egg, beef, mutton, chicken) will make every pore in your body water.
A foreign language church wedding (the bride did not walk down the aisle with her father, and the groom did not kiss her – Thank you Hollywood for cheating me all these years) and loads of memories with some of my favourite mallus later, it has been decided that the next wedding in the best friend family has to happen either in December, if in Kerala, or in their backyard in Arizona, USA.
Beautiful landscapes, winding roads, loads of humidity, sweat, running make-up and dehydration, I must say, Kerala in April = God’s Own Sauna!
Love Always, Z