A migrant cat at Koottunkal

Koottunkal K M Varghese a sketch by his grandson

This sketch was drawn by Boby Mathews in the year 1994

A boatyard at Pallippuram

Not far from NSS College Junction, there is a house boatyard on the bank of the eastern branch of Vembanadu lake. Here one can see house boats under repair and maintenance. This is a lucrative business in Kerala. The yard rent, repair costs, electricity etc are exorbitant in a common man's perspective. But of course, the business of tourism itself is very lucrative, isn't it?

It is a beautiful locality that gave me these snaps.

 A coir mill on the shore

Nalpathenneeswaram grandpa tree

On the way to Nalpathenneeswaram temple near Poochackal, this wonder-tree stands tall bearing a history of many centuries.  Taking refuge under the tree from the torturing summer heat, Velayudhan, a local from the neighborhood, said a few years ago forest department had conferred upon it the title of Grandpa Tree as it was the oldest tree in the district.

The grandpa tree

In those days when Velayudhan was a boy, there were only village pathways. No proper roads as we have today, he recollects. In their childhood, he and friends used to climb the tree for plucking punnappazham, its fruits. The tree had long hands-like branches that reached out to the ground. Anyone could easily climb up the tree through them. A few decades ago, these branches were cut off to pave way for the Panchayath road. The tree still has marks of the brutal attacks on it as one can still see stubs protruding like a war veteran's missing limbs.

Standing next to the tree is Velayudhan

Not surprisingly, the area has a sprawling population of punna trees, obviously the progeny of the grandpa tree. One of them has its branches spread over a field. It would be fun when the field is filled with rain water when one could dive from the tree and swim.

Silent spectators of time these trees are! A very long time and silence! What secrets would they reveal, if they could talk! What stories would they narrate!

The roads are still narrower here, and let us hope the development mantra will not be chanted here, lest these living monuments of an eventful past will be gone forever!

From Nalpathaneeswaram Temple compound

A beautifully nurtured Neem tree at Nalpathaneeswaram Temple compound.

This temple used to be one of the temples in Kerala in a scenic natural setting.

The temple pond (still very natural) 

What makes this place ugly today is the later additions to the original beautiful temple structures. Look at the concrete jungle! The use of plastic sheets (though temporary)! The original temple structure built based on Kerala temple architecture is still there behind this commotion.


It is that time of the year again

It is that time of the year again,
when we had pockets full of nuts,
played 'Andi'*,
longed for big 'pootty'*
and enriched our language with 'Munni', 'Nadu' and 'Otty'*
It is that time of the year again,
when we had crackling bonfire and roasted nuts
that made moms go nuts,
when we had juice that stained
our knickers that stank.
It is that time of the year again,
when we made wine and feigned drunk.

*Andi: A striker game with cashew nuts
*Pootty: cashew nuts shell filled with lead and tar, which is used as a striker in 'Andi' game.
*'Munni', 'Nadu' and 'Otty' : Terms used in 'Andi' game to indicate the positions of scattered cashew for the striker to strike.

At Koottunkal Vadakkethara - a heavenly place!

If there is a heaven on Earth, I guarantee that it would be a house on the remotest shore of Vembanadu lake in Kerala. Koottunkal Vadakkethara family lives in heaven! This calm serene place lies at the end of a long winding village road in Pallippuram. Currently, octogenarian Thommankunj Vadakkethara, his son Babu and family live there. In the midst of this dreamlike idyllic scenic heavenly place he runs a coconut processing and a coir-mat manufacturing units. The people here lead a simple life. Here they have everything a nature lover can dream of. Many different varieties of mango trees, farm trees, vegetable garden, a beautiful lake and a huge Peepal tree surrounded with thousands of coconuts. You will not forget their lovable dog who would not let you go once you befriend him! The breeze, aha! You will spend time there without a clue how it elapsed so fast. No resort can match this experience.

Koottunkal Vadakkethara Thomankunju, family head

Greeshma, Babu's daughter

Gribin and Gribson, Babu's sons

Coconuts Land!

Rosmi at the lakeside

This dog is so adorable!