It has been a welcome change from the small pristine state, Kerala to the United States. To reminisce, my native country, India and Kerala, "God's Own Country", where I used to live, always brings back fond memories.
Kerala is located in the southwestern coast of India, bounded by Western Ghats on the eastern side and Arabian Sea on the western side. It is popular for its tropical weather, coconuts, paddy fields, rivers, its backwaters, the fishing nets, the lagoons, its elephants, the bullock carts and spices. The Kathakali dances, the unique form of dance famous for its facial makeup and expressions and hand gestures played in temples and its martial arts, being some other attractions. The elegant cuisine with its tasty and spicy dishes and her hospitality deserves special mention. If you still have time, visit a nature preserve or a waterfall or venture out for the gold and sunny beaches at Kovalam or Kappad or take a hike in the hill stations! Why not try a houseboat, where you get cooked food made to your choice? You have plenty to explore and Kerala won't disappoint you.
In 1956, the Malayalam speaking (my mother tongue) states of Cochin and Travancore joined with the district of Malabar to form Kerala. It just happens that my mother is from Malabar and my father is from the Nilgiris (The Blue Mountains) in India's Tamil Nadu state in South India. Kerala, one of India's most developed states happens to be the first Indian state to achieve 100% literacy; the state first to implement land reforms has the highest life expectancy rates, the state with lowest birth rates and lowest infant mortality rates is the only state in India with a hospital in every village. The Malayalees make up India's most highly educated population, quite fluent in English, Hindi and Tamil, besides Malayalam, the local dialect. No wonder, Kerala holds one of the world's highest newspaper readerships'!
Kerala is popular for Ayurveda, a 4,000-year-old holistic medical science. It has crossed its shores to different parts of the world. It is linked quite very well and balanced with its tropical climate, its rigorous standards of practice and its wealth of medicinal herbs. Ayurveda's goal is to preserve a balance between the forces and principles thought to govern the body, mind and soul. Its principles are quite similar to yoga and is very effective for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, back pain and repetitive strain injuries.
I get carried away when I start talking about India or Kerala. A visit to India is not complete without a visit to this beautiful and "green" South Indian state. It will leave behind a pleasant nostalgia.
I have fairly adjusted to Cincinnati, the first city I moved, since I migrated from India in 1996. But, do I miss India and my friends? Yes, very much! I am always ready to pack my bags and go to India. It is a country where you should expect the unexpected, but, she has her own charm with its rich diversity and culture. India is making rapid strides in economic development, poised to become the world's third largest economy soon. People always have a different picture about India. It's a once in a lifetime journey! Welcome to India.