October 5, 2011

Seduced by a glorious getaway. To God’s Own Country

How time flies.

It’s been a month since I packed my bags to escape the muggy dessert weather for lazy rain-drenched days in back-to-nature settings. A few fleeting days away from the tumult of everyday life. In a place I call home. Ha.

The break was absolutely charming. A bit too short, but charming, really. We had seventeen days — seventeen full days of delightfully crazy and utter messy moments, fun, family, frolic.  And, plenty of celebrations.
A lone coconut palm: A rare sight in the "land of coconuts"
The land enveloped in stunning greenery: Bright green paddy fields
It was more than just a visit home. When we arrived, we were thrilled to find a full house with relatives including my brother-in-law and family who had traveled from Canada. The entire family was in town to attend my nephew’s—my hubby’s nephew, to be precise—wedding celebration.
Basilica of our lady of Dolours (Puthan Pally), Thrissur, the biggest and tallest church in Asia
A glimpse of the rural life in the backwaters -- canoe or vanchy/vallom are used by the locals as a means of transportation
Day after day of loud animated conversations, silly laughs, great family meals and a beautiful sense of togetherness. Such intimacy, such love, and ever so genuine. The whole atmosphere was vibrant and liberating. We lived in the moment. And it was great fun, natch.
Chinese cantilever fishing nets (cheena vala), Kochi
The weather? Absolutely lovely! It was pouring rain and the landscape was drenched in amazing shades of tropical greenery. The wet season and the fresh country air was pure delight after the scorching dessert heat and sandstorms. The stunning vistas of nature never failed to fascinate me: the charm of rich rain foliage blooming in the unspoiled countryside, stretches of verdant paddy fields, palm fronds flirting with the wind, clouds floating across the heavens, the beauty of the rolling hills, not to mention the allure of the sky laden with overcast. Such simple pleasures.

It was a season of festivities and goodwillEid celebration, wedding in the family, a birthday party, ten days of Onam festivities, and finally an exhilarating glide down the idyllic canals and lagoons of the backwaters in Alappuzha, dubbed as the "Venice of the East", abroad a kettuvallam or traditional houseboat.
Handsome in tux: From left to right—my brother-in-law, nephew (the happy groom), nephew (the international model) and my sister-in-law’s father.
Our first week was a hive of activity. We were shuttling from one place to another, from one event to another, to the point of exhaustion. In all the hubbub of demanding schedules, a sense of belonging surrounded by loved ones was the zeal that kept us going strong.

The wedding was beautiful. Yes, beautiful. Despite the wet season, the weather stayed almost dry with patchy drizzles and pleasant spells of sun. We had a lovely time with family and relatives. My nieces and sisters-in-law were great fun—we took absolute pleasure in shopping (oh yeah!) and were dolled up in ethnic garments—dhavani (half sari) for the mehendi nite, sari for the nikkah and anarkhali salwar kameez for the reception. The males in the family had their moments too—they looked dashing in whatever outfits they chose to wear. 

Shahzad, my niece's adorable son. Photo credit: Hamza

But the bride and groom outshone everyone with their stunning costumes, shining personality and the glow on their face. These two were truly in love, mashaAllah, and it was pure pleasure to watch their wedded bliss. Such a beautiful start to a happily ever after—little wonder I was choked up watching the union. True love is a rare gift.

I’d switched off anything technological this time—no cuddling the cell phone or temptations of the virtual world (Actually, I stopped cuddling the mobile when I quit my job). I was having such a full life that I relinquished the gadgets without struggle. For a change it was great to have unplugged without actually missing it. All said, I was sorry I couldn’t get in touch with any of my friends. The visit was way too short and hectic. Whoever said good things come in small packages, said right.
Just before the heavens poured: The sky suddenly laden with overcast

Kuttanad dubbed as the "rice bowl of Kerala" with paddy fields below sea-level
Today, I stopped by this space to say a big hello and to share a snippet of my lovely memories with you. I’d intended to keep it short. But looks like I’ve babbled long. In other news, I was excited to see my rogan gosh recipe featured in the article 5 must try lamb recipes on Foodista, and my chicken puffs recipe profiled as a delicious link for 08.26.2011 in the Kitchn. It makes my heart happy to see any mention of my work on other spaces. And I couldn’t sign off without sharing my happiness with you too. 

Okey-doke, I’ll see you in a bit. With delicious recipes, I promise. Oh yeah, I’ve been cooking and taking pictures ever since I got back. It’s just that I was feeling a bit down after the holidays, and a bit daunted by the prospect of writing. So the silence.

Also, thank you to all those who wrote in to say hi. You are an amazing crowd and I’m forever touched by all the love that you show me. Thank you, my sweet friends!


  1. Glad to have you back,Nash.Congrats on you getting featured..!!! Such amazing photos,makes me wanna go back to my own.

  2. Hey lovely, thanks so much!

  3. What a lovely clicks!! makes me sooo nostalgic!
    Njoy ur break:-)

  4. Good to see a new post from you! Beautiful photos as always and I am sure you had a great time!!

  5. so splendid to see you back in your element. The photographs are gorgeous and it fills me with happy thoughts of the time I had spent a few months back.
    On a serious note: you have such handsome men in your family!

    Congrats to the bride and the groom

  6. Thanks much Ramya and Chinmayie. Yep, I had a wonderful time!

    Hey Anita, didn't sleep huh? Hon, thanks for the kind words & wishes. It's a nice feeling to be back to blogging. Oh btw, the guy's are gonna love your note, I know! :))

  7. Welcome back dear..Great pics, makes me happy and nostalgic ..Congrats to the bride and the groom

  8. yipeeee....yaata yaata ;P ;P

    check mail babe...

  9. Welcome back Nash , reading your post ,it looks like you had a blast back home eh? The pics are just awesome , I love them all.

  10. Nice to see you back in action.....love that kiddo pic....love the sparkling glow in his eyes.....hope u had wonderful time.....

  11. Welcome back... lovely pics .. and good to know that u had a wonderful time.....:)

  12. beautiful post and gorgeous pictures!....welcome back!!
    Smitha @ Smitha's Spicy Flavors

  13. Yes a beautiful coincidence. Loved seeing God's own land through your lens!

  14. Glad to see u back, stunning clicks..really pleasant to eyes..

  15. Loved the beautiful clicks,for a moment felt like I was back home.Glad to hear that you had a wonderful time.

  16. Assalam Alaikum & Welcome Back dearest..
    I was missing you my friend..I dont know what a cool connection it is, so we value bloggy friends although without knowing much about each other!
    Well its great to know that you have enjoyed your time smartly! i would love to see some of your photography about wedding ceremony..have you clicked some bridal's photo sessions? it will be cool to see!
    Lots of Love & Take care!

  17. Lovely pics and so good to have u back..This is one place on my my must visit list..hopefully soon!!

  18. Thanks for sharing those gorgeous pictures with us! That is a hheavenly looking place.

    Congrats to the bride and groom!



  19. Hey friends, thanks for the wishes. I have such feel good memories of this trip that words fail me.

    Suja, I totally understand your feeling of longing. You have company ☺

    Hey junkie..what’s with the new name?!! Saw your msg sweets, er, msgs… will write soon, promise!

    Thanks Shabs, I was in your town for the marriage—both henna and nikkah was in Kozhikode. We stayed at Westway. Yea, had a blast home! :)

    Hey Lubna, thanks for the welcome. Oh yea, lil Shahzad is a cutie pie and so full of mischief ☺

    Thanks S!

    Thank you, Smitha! Hope you are well settled and having a good time in SF.

    Kulsum, thanks cutie! I didn’t get much photo opportunity this time cos of the hectic schedule. But, it’s always a pleasure to speak of home. You know what I mean?

    Thanks Priya!

    Vidhya, I knew the pics of Thrissur in particular would give you a wistful feeling ☺

    Salam Kadeeja! Thanks so much for the hearty welcome, my sweet friend. I’m totally with you on the connection bit, it’s amazing na. I hope to share pics of the wedding on my fickr photostream and I’ll definitely send you an invite ok—not comfortable to do it on a public space like this ☺ Love you back and you take care too!

    Anamika dear, Kerala is an oasis of serenity and beauty. An ideal place to slow down and enjoy the laid-back way of life. I can give you some recommendations, if u are interested in experiencing the charms of this land :)

    Thanks Rosa. Yes, Kerala is a beautiful and must-see destination in South India. It was even listed in the '10 Paradises of the Earth' by the National Geographic Traveller!

  20. Welcome back. Lovely clicks.

  21. Good to see you back Nash!!! I envy you for spending such amazing time back home. What glorious pictures! I wanna go home :( :( :(...!!!

  22. Hi Nash - a big welcome back! Thanks for treating us with such joyous post and memories of yours. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Brought us right back to the fun time we had in Kochi. Really a fascinating place..

    Oh...you have some Bollywood star looking boys in the family too:) Would love to see more of the wedding pictures!

  23. This post took me back to my memories of last summer in Kerala, a short trip on a houseboat. Such a beautiful inspiring place....

    Hope you had tons of awesome wedding food and plan to share those recipes with us soon!

  24. Glad to see you back Nashira! Sounds like you had a wonderful time with your family, such amazing pictures. Wishing the couple a happy married life. Congratulations on getting featured :)

  25. lovely pics.. Nash.. and good to see you back :)

  26. Welcome back Nashi.. Missed you

  27. Happy to see your new post Nashira.. I had kept your site open on one tab of my browser for so long, as i didn't know how long your holiday was.. Loved reading about your trip and all the awesome photos too. I want a holiday there now, let me show these photos to the husband and see if it will convince him ;-)

  28. Thank you Deeksha and Sarah!

    Hey Reese, thanks for the warm welcome. I'd sure love to share some of the wedding pictures with you :)

    Hey sweet Arva, the food was awesome. Nothing like home cooked meals and that too when someone else is cooking-- I love it :)

    Thanks Ambreen. Hope you had fun at your brother's wedding too.

    Thanks Sarah!

    Hey Hazra, I missed you too. Gotta catch up soon. InshaAllah.

    La, you are funny! You didn't really have my site open for this long na? lol Anyways, thanks for the sweet note and the smiles. I say you definitely gotta convince your hubby to visit Kerala. It's a beautiful place.

  29. Its Lahari, and it means waves, since you really wanted to know :-)
    And i really had it open for about two weeks i think, and then decided i will know when you are back from your comments on Anita's blog and then i finally closed that tab.

  30. I like the sound of it--Lahari. In Malayalam it means thrill, and I'm thrilled to meet you! :)

  31. Can't imagine how I missed this post. It is so beautiful, and isn't Kerala green! Truly God's own country!


A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi