Fishing at Pallippuram

Cherthala is one of the most beautiful places on the earth for two reasons - its affable people and its sprawling backwaters, the Vembanadu Kayal.

Fishing in the Vembanadu Kayal was a ritualistic pastime for us children and livelihood for others. Early mornings, we went to the lake shore carrying fishing rod made of green bamboo stalk (Illikkana) and earth worms or smoked Tapioca (Chutta Kappa) or wheat bread (Godamb Appam) for fish bait. With no breeze and noise, the tranquil lake rested in the mornings reflecting the thousand coconut trees on its bank and us with fishing rods. It would remain so for about two hours until the wind starts blowing gently. This was the best time for fishing.

On Sundays and holidays, some of us (equipped with better fishing tools) continued fishing throughout the day. We went to the shallow streams that reach out to the lake and fished there. We used a variety of fishing tools that suited the nature of the stream. These were Vattavala, ottaal, veeshuvala, koruvala, pokkuvala etc.

This November I had the chance to witness such a fishing session in progress at Pallippuram. I saw two determined young men fishing in a nearby stream against all odds. They had a custom made fishing net resembling a Vattavala, but without the rim. It had a long tail instead of the typical short one.

Here are the pictures! (Photo Courtesy: Bobby Mathews)

Preparing the Net

Patience.. Wait.. Wait..

Time for a check ..

Let's See..

Not a good catch.. but ok for one curry

A return trip to Thycattusserry

My recent visit to Thycattusserry has been refreshing and rejuvenating. It brought back the vivid pictures of schooldays and childhood.

Click here for a short narration in Malayalam ....

Four Types of Mosquitoes

According to behavior and appearance, Aleykutty Varghese Koottunkal (AVK) says, we can classify mosquitoes into four distinct classes:

Ezhukuntham Kotha (Lady Lancer): This species derives its first name (Ezhukuntham) from the long slender legs that resemble spears. Its feminine characteristics are quite visible from outside, hence the second part of the name (Kotha).

Edangetti Chacki (I pick the Vulnerable Spot ): To identify this species is very easy. If you experience a mosquito-bite on a spot where your hands cannot reach out, no matter how much ever desperately you try, you can be of 100% sure that it is an Edangetti Chakki. They know your Achilles' Heel, and are quite daring to publish their presence by delivering a high-pitched music and giving you a painful injection. By the time you device a way to reach her out, she would fly-off with a stomach full. The name Chacki also is reminiscent of the cat, who plays around your legs causing inconvenience and irritation.

Chenchola Rani (The Queen in red garb): The very name reminds me of those red clothes worn by Hindu and Buddhist temple priests. If you see a mosquito with a transparent belly loaded with blood, no doubt, you have spotted a Chenchola Rani.

Chena Chorichi (the Allergic Yam): Have you ever experienced rashes due to handling of the tuber, Yam (Chena). You will have the same experience, if bitten by this species of mosquito. For a long time, post the bite, you will go on scratching the skin.

The most dreaded among these, according to AVK, is the Edangetti Chacki for its dreaded music, which is worse than that of a local musician at Pallippuram we dare not listen to.

So, forget all you have learned about mosquitoes in school. The new (old?) definitions are in.

The Easteners and Northerners

Aleykutty Varghese (77) is famous for her valuable collections of idioms and proverbs in Malayalam. Today, I heard this in the morning:

Meaning (not literal): In the evening, if you want to meet the Eastern keralites, you must wait for them on the road. If you want to meet Northerners, you must visit their home.

I asked her "Why?"

She says "Northerners, after the day's toil, take bath and prefer to stay at home wearing fresh clothes. Eastern Keralites, on the other hand, do not take bath or dress up, instead they go to the market for shopping or chitchatting with friends."

Has it really anything to do with the ways of life of Northerners and Easterners?