While in India, I had learned that the best time to be in Kerala was during December /January when the faint winter will hold sway. Though my mother will say that it is the “Tree chilling winter” (Maram Kochunna Manju), anybody used to real winter will vouch that Kerala’s winter is nothing more than a cool weather. In our younger days in the sixties, in our ancestral house at Cherthala, we had three large Sarppakkavu (Woods with small temple for worshipping serpents) full of large trees and plenty of birds and thousands of bats. In winter months, our servants used to mop up dried leaves from these Sarppakkavu and keep these in big heaps. Early morning, before the sun breaks, we the children, led by Vijay, my elder brother and followed by sisters Rema and Maya and Hari, the younger brother, used to enjoy a bonfire out of the above. We children had great time enjoying the burning fire and keeping ourselves warm sharing folktales and sometimes picking up quarrels too.
As we grew older, like Wordsworth said, many of such charms we lost on the way.
Still, I enjoy the Palakkad winter. Now, whenever time permits, I go for an early morning walk with Sindhu, my wife of 25 years through the sparsely populated road leading to Malampuzha Dam and overlooking the Western Ghats. On one side of the road, there are large tracts of paddy fields on the banks of which long palm trees could be seen. When we go for an evening walk, these interesting palm trees seen against the setting sun seem like demonic gatekeepers in an alien planet.
On winter days, either in the morning or in the evening, when we go for our long walks, I and Sindhu share many things. Often the conversations go beyond the mundane things and go the realms of philosophy and Vedanta and meditation. Life seems a lot more relaxed and easy. Problems of life, which are always around are kept at a distance and the cool breezes take away the stresses. The feeling grows that there is someone who really loves you despite your inadequacies and the walk together becomes really enjoyable.
This indeed is one of the things I love most. Thank you, Sindhu.
Dubai, 25th January 2008.