kerala

my ammichi

1ammichi

For me, she is Ammichi and for many she is Agnes thathi. At 86, she is an inspiration for me, to keep aside troubles and move ahead in life. While I was growing up in the beautiful coastal village of Pallipuram in Vypin Island; I only wished to get a job and erase all her woes. For those who have heard of this for the first time, Vypin is one of the highly inhabited Islands in Kerala, the picturesque state of India.

Little did I know then, that it would be Ammichi who would inspire me to move on and achieve greater heights, especially in terms of education, financial stability and above all a happy family life. Not just for her family, but she has stood beside many to give that timely advice to ward off domestic and financial troubles.

Ammichi was born into a very humble family of four daughters and a relentlessly hardworking mother – father. She couldn’t complete her education as desired by her. She dreamt of becoming a teacher, once she told me. Though, in life she was no less than a teacher, all those who are acquainted with her, would certainly vouch for this.

Soon Ammichi became a wife and mother to four daughters and three sons. And her life changed completely. Having a husband who was posted with the Indian Army, Ammichi took the reins of bringing up the family into her hands. Ammichi for the past 40 plus years has rarely missed opening her small wooden toffee shop near St. Mary’s High School at Pallipuram. More or less, she has continuously witnessed over three generations of students, who still remember the ammayi muttai and kumbloose naaranga they ate from her pettikada (small shop in Malayalam). And the pettikada has played an important role in supporting her financial needs.

And what a beautiful family she has raised. In spite of not being a biological part of her family, she brought me up just the way she would have done with her own offspring. Indeed, she lived the role of my Ammichi (mother in Malayalam). As per the relation, I should have called her Ammama (grandma), but I never realized the difference, as she raised me with equal portions of love, patience and punishments.
Today, when she is celebrating her birthday, I stand here, educated, settled and with a loving family. This is when I realize the value of those moments of love and punishments. And how it has helped me to value life and count blessings, above all.

finding alleppy

have your heard of the duck curry accompanied with succulent appams (a kind of pancake made with fermented rice paste /coconut and toddy, if you are lucky) Or the unending streams of picturesque backwaters. The older generation would also associate the place with many a freedom struggles, political uproar and the once famous coir industry. The place I am referring to is the rice bowl of Kerala and the Venice of the east; a district known as Alleppey and for many its Alappuzha (meaning ‘The land lies between sea and its rivers).

I am one of the many daughter in-laws Alleppey would have. Like most of them, my visit is always shrouded with many plans to see that and eat this. However, each visit remains a surprise till the end. And of course more plans are made for the next visit.

Luckily this time, I was more blessed to have got a guided tour to the backyard. No way, i am not complaining. Even the backyard in Alleppey is worth taking a tour. And to add to the beauty, it rained the whole day. So I walked on the red coloured unpaved road to find this beautiful place.

hundreds of coconut trees would give you a welcome glance to experience the beauty of the backwaters

The water was dark but clear in the middle. Grass in varied nuances of green and different sizes covered the edges of the backwaters. Scores of ducks fluttered its wings to get closer to the land before the next big rain.

Indeed the backwaters of Alleppey beckon you to spend more time in the quaint atmosphere. You will not even mind the never ending rain.

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an upside down reflection of the coconut trees

duck on red sand

hope you will get an opportunity to walk on this road

queen of arabian sea

this is the land I belong to. My native. Vypin is one of the most inhabited islands and is also part of a group of islands scattered around the Vembanad lake and the Arabian sea. Vypin was formed in the early 1300 AD followed by heavy floods. The beauty of my land is matchless. Its proximity to the buzzing commercial city of Ernakulam and to the charming old city of Kochi has made it easy for the travellers to explore. Also the inevitable development in terms of ports and ships. The mood in the island tip of Vypin is different when it dusk sets in. Some of the shots from Vypin, hope you would like.

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the church of our lady of hope in vypin

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a cargo ship entering to kochi (dubai port)

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hues of dusk at vembanad lake while going through the goshree bridge that connects city to the vypin island

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the traditional chinese fishing nets facing the port town of kochi