I had written this blog in January, speaking about my trip a year ago to the South Indian state of Kerala. And, now, the state tourism department has emailed me some pictures of their new campaign promoting the backwaters and all that tourists can look forward to when they visit. I honestly feel this campaign needs a mention again. The state, with 44 rivers, a vast network of lakes, 1500 km of labyrinthine canals, snake boat races, over 300 species of birds, floating markets… showcases the magnificence of Kerala backwaters and the campaign has reached out to travellers and nature lovers from across the world. This is the post:
Sifting though some of the pictures I took over the last one year, I came across these from my trip to the South Indian state of Kerala last March. That was a special trip for two reasons – one, I was part of the delegation of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister of Bahrain Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and two, it was my first visit to India’s “Down Under” – a state known for its pristine natural beauty and extremely hardworking people. The visit was also special because it took me to a state close to my heart – I admire the people there not only because of their simplicity and proximity to nature. No wonder then that most of the state’s population lives off the water – the rivers, to be precise – and nowhere is far away from the rich and abundantly “fished” backwaters. There are many hundreds of thousands who live on the survive on the fish they catch and the fish they sell. They are not known to travel long distances, if at all they travel but at the same time they are “seafaring” and do not think twice before making that long journey to the Gulf countries. It is said of Kerala if each of its enterprising men and women were to return to the state, there would be no room even to stand. But, then again, it is also said of Kerala that most of those who have traveled abroad have managed to build a palatial house along the backwaters even with a meager income but by almost working non-stop!
That said, I have to salute their enterprising nature, their never-failing spirit of going into the unknown and treading where no one dared to set foot once upon a time. Is it then a surprise that we have some of the most well-known (wealthy) businessmen of Indian origin hailing from Kerala? It also does not seem out-of-place to see most drivers, store workers, farm hands, bankers, journalists, executives, salesmen and vendors from the state and without whom life would actually come to a standstill in this part of the world.
Little wonder then His Royal Highness chose to go to Kerala to explore more opportunities between the two countries and no wonder that many business (not from Kerala) are now setting up shop on its shores.
As they say in the Gulf, if you are from India, you are from Kerala! Suits us fine!