Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kerala, view from an SUV

Kerala means land of coconuts and the Indian-thin lanky coconut palms rose up everywhere beside the roads, behind the tiny shops festooned with clusters of bottled water and bananas. Like Malaysia, there was a heartening mix of churches, Christian schools, Hindu temples and many mosques, most newly painted. Must be money coming in from the Gulf states. So many people working there, said our Indian friends, so much money coming in: every home has a computer. And why so many school children? Kerala the state with the highest literacy. Two young boys did beg -they each asked for a pen. First the Christian missionaries established schools and now the Communists are a big part of government here. "Through the ballot,"as one of our colleagues said because they were seen to be good candidates but now just as corrupt as other politicians.

Everywhere words: on the trucks, FRIENDS, Bismillah!, Jesus Never Fails and on the back of trucks and buses, the most unnecessary command of all: Sound Horn! Above the shacks and tiny shops, signs promising a future: Digital Workshop, Beauty Academy, Internet Institute, Talent Academy, Perfect English Institute. Signs painted on fences and walls. Ideal Vests Briefs and Trunks painted on a succession of private garden walls, followed us all the way down to the Cape.
First day back, never before had the standard silent suburb seemed more like an empty stage set. Every house, every gate, clear cut and on display but where are the signs, the ads, the words, where is the noise, where are the trucks, the buses, the scooters, where is the color, where are the children? where are the people?

1 comment:

  1. Mary, that's India and we love it all the same!!!!! Anyone who visits should be visiting a second time.