Close your eyes and think of the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Wedding’. For years, the first thing that came to my mind was chaos. Turns out, that’s no longer the case. I am a proud convert. If I close my eyes right now, I can see myself having the most amazing time at my friend Anjali’s wedding in Kalpetta, a small town in Wayanad. Surrounded by gorgeous mountains, Kalpetta is a great place to go hiking & then come back to a delicious spread of home made Malayalam cuisine. Yes, I am referring to spicy Meen curry served with hot rice to the view of lush green forests and coffee plantations.
Small towns have their own charm. But it may take a while for you to discover it if you are an outsider and don’t know any locals. In my case, it was different. I got off the bus late in the evening and was met by Abhinav, an old friend of Anjali’s. We were meeting after years but the conversation was easy and effortless. The walk up to Anjali’s house was beautiful. It was a full moon night and I couldn’t help but notice the clean air. That’s the thing with us city folks, we get very excited about clean air.
To make the most of our stay, we even decided to brave the rain and heavy mist one morning. We chose a scenic route and hiked our way up to Edakkal Caves – a site that has drawn the interest of numerous archaeologists owing to detailed carvings that depict human and animal figures as well as tools of pre-historic age. Although not the easiest hike, once we reached the caves, we realised that it was totally worth the effort. Some of us even befriended a few monkeys on our way up and had our share of laughs. That day, Kalpetta really felt like paradise.
Anjali’s parents moved to Kalpetta a few years ago because they wanted to live a better life. A life that didn’t include the everyday madness of a city like Delhi. And boy, one look at the house and the green expanse behind it, I knew what a good life this must be. I later found out that they even make their own coffee. Yeah, fresh coffee that comes from the coffee plant in their garden. Dinner was followed by our first conversation with the groom, Nishant. A desi, born and brought up in Australia. One of us asked him what he likes the most about this small town. ‘I like sleeping in the room upstairs, especially when it rains because I can hear it pour so clearly. This may seem trivial, but to me, it feels really magical now,’ he answered. That’s all it took. We all connected with him from the first day and couldn’t be happier for Anjali.
The next morning started with a big breakfast of idlis, vadas & baby utthapams. Although most of us didn’t speak the language, we communicated just fine with the caterers. Gorgeous breakfast, followed by the devi puja, conducted by the bride, for which we all dressed up in traditional cream & gold saris. After the puja was lunch and then, all the women were asked to make 1,000 wicks with cloth, as part of a ritual. But a) it wasn’t easy to make those wicks and b) we’d eaten too much. Again. Evening was mehendi – not a Mallu ritual but Anjali wanted to bring in some Delhi spirit to Kerala. It was amazing to be around so many excited and happy people. That same evening some of Nishant’s friends from back home joined the festivity and together, we all had a blast.
Next morning was the six-hour long Vedic wedding at home with about 80 people. It was a beautiful ceremony, during which we got time to connect with Nishant’s friends. It’s amazing how it doesn’t matter where you are from if your values are the same. All of us felt that about them. We had grown up in such different environments but it was surreal how similar we were. This connection with the people and their locale is what made the wedding trip so special. I’ve only just gotten back, but as I write this, I find the gorgeous landscapes and unspoilt traditions of Kerala inviting me again, and I am lost in the heap of memories. God’s own country indeed!
Kerala is historically termed as Keralam, and is a beautiful state in the south-west region of India. And the best time that reflects the beauty and faith of the people of Kerala is during Onam, the biggest festival of Kerala. A harvest festival, a Malayalam New year, is the perfect time when the beautiful landscapes of Kerala is in its full radiance.
We bring you five best reasons why you must visit Kerala and experience the most marvelous facets of its people as they unfold their rich culture.
#5 The Beaches!
Cover Photo Credits: ww.enticingtour.com
About the traveller: Komal Singh is a fiction writer, based in Bangalore. Beer, books, films, good food, parks, connections and travel make her really happy.