Discovering Kathakali

Although I had originally planned to see the Kathakali performance in Kumarakom, I find out that it’s difficult to organise, or at least my hotel says so. Fortunately I have the evening free in Thekkady, so I decide that I might as well.

I glance in my guide book, and it recommends the Mudra Cultural Centre. I type in the URL and check – the show timings are still 5pm and 7:15 for Kathakali, and 6pm and 7:15 for kalarippayat, the traditional Kerala martial art. Continue reading “Discovering Kathakali”

Learnings from the Mannan Tribe

The Thekkady tribal dance performance takes place in a small auditorium, not far from the Periyar Reserve bus stand, across from the Bamboo Grove.

I walk into a dusty darkened room, with a few rows of wooden chairs. The door is open, and people are either fanning themselves or swatting at mosquitoes, or in some cases both. A red light glows behind the curtain. Continue reading “Learnings from the Mannan Tribe”

Wilderness Fever Dreams

I arrive at the ecotourism office just before 1:30 pm, much to the chagrin of my driver, who makes it clear that he disapproves of my sightseeing priorities.

It has been a bumpy morning for us, as I have taken to ignoring his destination suggestions. A short while later he tells me that the two British friends who had come sightseeing with me the day before, were not allowed in the car. Nobody was allowed in the car except me.

I have realized by this point, that my driver is somewhat controlling, and while there may be such a rule, he is exaggerating it.

In response, I get on the phone and loudly tell my travel agent that if nobody else is allowed in the car I may cancel the cab early. This silences him for the moment.Continue reading “Wilderness Fever Dreams”

The Journey to Munnar

As I touch down in Cochin, I notice the tropical belt of trees that line the runway. As I descend towards the terminal, a small rather horizontal affair, the warmth hits my skins a nice change from the Delhi chill.

Today I’m going to Munnar, a hill station known for tea plantations and rustic beauty. I call the taxi driver who is booked to take me. He cannot understand my Hindi or my English by he tells me someone else, I believe the name was Sujit would pick me up. When I go outside a third Driver named Prateesh is waiting for me. But it’s fine and before I know it we are on our way.Continue reading “The Journey to Munnar”

Letters to the Dead

I thought that when I saw your funeral pyre, I’d finally believe that you’re gone. But as I watched the logs of wood turn black and white, start to crack and finally, core charred, collapse into dust – mingling with your ashes, as I watched the flames liquefying the air above, or the fresh logs being added up top, or the small concrete plot under the tin roof, it still did not feel true.

Continue reading “Letters to the Dead”

A Few Thoughts on Gratitude

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

– Randy Pausch

These words came from this absolutely beautiful book I am reading called The Last Lecture, written by the late Carnegie Mellon Professor before losing his battle to Pancreatic cancer in 2008. I’ve probably written about this before, but I do think it bears repeating.

If you’re reading this, you have access to a computer. I can almost assume that you have a roof over your head, and food on your table. Some of us have a little more, some of us have a little less. Some of us are plagued with debts, while others are blessed to live more comfortably.

Continue reading “A Few Thoughts on Gratitude”

An Open Letter to the Parents in My Life

A few years back, during Game of Thrones season, I made the mistake of posting on a friends Facebook wall that I could not watch that weeks episode because I was sleep deprived. Another girl who went to high school with us immediately commented something to the extent of “why are you sleep deprived Mira? Do you have two children under five?”

After this they had a delightful back and forth about how I must have been partying every night when the truth is I had been at work for 14 days straight and was just wired. I said something and my friend eventually apologized to me (I know her intention wasn’t bad – and I do think she was truly sorry).

Continue reading “An Open Letter to the Parents in My Life”

Why Mosquitos Cannot Be Fireflies

That ravenous yearning that
Never satiates because
Mosquitoes cannot ever
Be fireflies, Parasites
Can not be friends, Symbiosis
Will never be our way of life
It is far better to plunge the
Knife deep into my flesh or spine
Than to see me as the magic
To charm your pathetic
Shortcomings into muscle
This princess is going to
Another castle, This dream
Will float on another cloud
And one day when arrogance
Has thinned more than hair follicles
You’ll recall that grey fuzzy
Space you once thought I occupied,
The one you considered to be
Your magic elixir

But sadly as I have learned,
I should never hold my breath.