Where Modern meets Traditional Kerela – Cochin

Cochin was an unplanned decision, I was supposed to spend my weekend wisely by going to Ooty and explore the hill station with my travel gang but the plan was dropped since so many friends dropped out, and then as I was holding my nerves as to how I can spend my weekend not just sitting in the boredom of my home and the bulb lit up. Why not go to Cochin! This place where I will be connected for the rest of my life with my to-be life partner who hails from Kerela. Though I have been to Cochin before, I never really had the chance to stroll through the interiors or get to feel the real ambience of this city. Then and there I decided to book tickets with my sister-in-law and get going to this modern, urbane town of Kerela. In Cochin the modern Kerela culture meets the traditional one. The food and the cuisine my my…. is lip smacking and with so many varieties of rice, never heard of in life. Happiness was getting to taste all of that – Homemade 🙂

I was lucky to have found a very great emotional connect with Naumi my sis-in-law, she is a sweetheart and a child in her heart which is what makes me like her more, since I am one myself. She made an affectionate companion – both of us hopping around the streets, the mall, strolling at Marine Drive and stretching our wandering to late in the night. Cochin has a real modern charm to it. It is unlike the other cities or towns of Kerela where you miss the hustle- bustle of the city and the feel of the city. In this town you have it all, from Asia’s largest Lulu mall, a beach to spend your well deserved evening, a Marine Drive ( not like Mumbai though), but with the same serenity and calm, the people busy in their life yet having ample of time to see or interfere what you are doing. Cochin also has lovely churches, the Edapally Church, the Little Flower Church which carry a very strong Kerelite feel with them, decorated with coconut hangings and supported with fresh banana leaves. Banana, Coconut and Rice are basic essentials in the God’s Own Country, no Kerelite can even imagine surviving without them. Get these three ingredients right and you will have axed the secret of making most of the Kerelite delicacies is what I experienced.

I tried three types of new cuisine. I was familiar with Appam, Idiappam and Payasam, but along with that I also tasted Avial, Putta, Pullasheri ( all vegetarian items and tasty to the core), I also had a little sneak peak into the non veg platter with beef cutlet and it was the yummiest eaten ever after the beef chilli that I had tasted in Mumbai.( one of my Catholic frnd’s mom made the best ever beef chilli).

Cochin flourishes with spice trade and since it is one of the important ports in India and Southern India, you will find many naval expeditions beginning from Kochi. At the same time do not forget to get a tiny glimpse of the hot marine engineers who march so smartly in their fresh white uniforms. For any girl it is a treat to the eye. Though this seemed really childish, me and Naumi enjoyed the show with giggles and laughter. In Cochin,in fact the whole of Kerela , I guess the citizens detest living in apartments or flats, all over the place you could see intricately built houses with a small parking space, a garden and such spacious courtyards. The weather is humid, yet the rains make this city a paradise to wander. If you are that person who loves the feel of raindrops on your face, who loves splashing of water and it makes your heart sing, who loves the sound of thunder on your rooftop and the breeze that makes your wavy hair go swoosh in the air, this city is the place for you to be.

Every city comes with its share of shortcomings too and I found some here, practically which should not exist. Most of the people seem really proud and worried about their status which is a strict no no for me. The caste system is routed very deeply and showing off your richness means bragging about the services at stores and taking out wads of notes from your dhoti. The problem with some young guys is scanning a girl and if you are not a native of Cochin, you will be scanned from top to toe in the most insane way, any girl could think of. Also waste disposal also is a big problem in some parts of Cochin. Well the brownie points certainly score since the pace of this city is not very speedy. People work peacefully and also give lots of importance to their family.

From the shores of Marine Drive I caught a glimpse of the Willingdon Island, the largest artificial man-made island in India, and named after Lord Willingdon who at that time was ruling India under the leadership of the British Crown.Much of the present Willingdon Island was claimed from the Lake of Kochi, filling in dredged soil around a previously existing, but tiny, natural island. Willingdon Island is of strategic importance for the Kochi Port and the Indian Navy. It is the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command. In the evening light, this island stands tall in full glory.( not literally tall, but with so many lights 🙂 )

Cochin is hands down the commercial capital of Kerela, it is much more developed and advanced than Trivendrum so the city deserves the title. It also serves as the seat of the High Court of Kerela, which of course makes this city full of influential people and politicians hovering around. Many superstars from the Mollywood industry stay here as well including the superstar Mammooty and his ever smiling son Dulquer Salman. The chocolate boy of Mollywood , Nivin Pauly, also has his abode here.

What’s more this city is located at a very short distance from Allepey, Kozhikode( Calicut), Thrissur and Guruvayoor, the top notch tourist destinations in Kerela.

With Naumi it was a relaxed affair to spend my weekend here. So many new words in three days, Malayalam of course, I tried really hard to pick up the most I could this time. Happiness was also tickling my mom-in-law and pulling her cheeks slightly as she gave me a gleam on her face. I had a perfect family stay, trying out the most apt cuisine made from experienced Kerelite hands and also learning the recipes to cook them myself.

Indeed, a place to keep coming again all my life. 🙂

Signing off.

The views expressed in this blog are from my own experience, it may differ from person to person.

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Rucha Khot.

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