An elephant.

But more on that later.

In context, I am a tourist who did many tourist-y things today. And if this is going to be one of those posts where I go through the places I visited, it would be very boring for me to write. Who wants to know how beautiful the tea plantations are or how I sat in a speed boat whose driver who was straight out of a Fast and Furious movie (albeit on water)? And will I be a totally bad person for having sat on an elephant? After I did, I fed the elephant pineapples and corn as if to redeem myself of my role his enslavement. Who am I kidding, really? And that’s why I didn’t sit on a horse when it came to riding on it beside a lake. After all, I was always partial to horses. What should I write about the fantastic local cuisine which is such a saving grace! Fish curry and rice. The wonders of good cooking. I remember how I yearned for some real food on my vacation to Jaipur. Kerala, you have been so kind and such a darling. Yes, you have. So far.

And I have been a sweetheart too, for the number of things I have bought for friends back home is not even funny. Here, they sell soap in a soap case made of what they call pala. I have no idea what the soap case is made up of, but after some Googling here’s what it looks like. I asked the locals, they don’t know what it’s called in English. It’s just pala for them. But it’s such a beauty because it looks like an oyster albeit of a leaf. I have bought over a dozen of them. Also, what helps are how heavenly the soaps smell and have some of my favourite scents – cucumber, aloe vera, green apple, lime, jasmine – and just to be nice to sandal I bought one of those too. For myself, I have bought green apple soap and gel. I think green apple as a cosmetic is divine. I am totally partial to anything with green apple in it. Not to mention, the home-made chocolates are abundant here. I’ve bought loads of those too. And of course, like any other loyal tourist I have packed tea to take back home and what they claim is ‘chocolate coffee’. I have no idea what that is, but I’ve bought it all the same. And a few minutes ago, I packed in a key chain that’s got a die at the ornamental end. Like I said, the stuff I’ve bought is crazy, and I’ve not even visited a shop of chips. Yet.

As I sit here and silently hope that my stomach can stand the non-veg street food I have eaten, I think of the trees here. They’re almost all cinnamon trees; that’s what my mother says. The bark is peeled off, treated and then sold as cinnamon sticks. I will authenticate this information when I have internet access again. (I can’t find information to authenticate this.) As of now, when it comes to reading/writing material, on top of this hill, all I have is a pen and a notebook, a smart phone which I have not needed to charge for 3 whole days, and a Kate Atkinson novel. So, the trees. They’re really tall and stand upright poking the sky with their tops. I look at them and wonder where does this self-assuredness come from? They seem to stand at equal distances from each other and just stay there for what seems to have been eternity. They don’t watch us come and go, but stay there and do their own thing. I tried to imagine what they would think of us puny humans who rush to nature to escape or rejuvenate. I lack far-reaching imagination, but one thing was for sure, they don’t look down on us, nor do they look up to us. In short, they let us be and they go on living self-assured and self-sufficient lives without disparaging us or anyone else for that matter.

Is that why they live longer? Probably longest?

Leaving you with lots of pictures this time. Somehow, it only makes sense. (Roll over the images to control the speed of the slide show.)

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