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.
|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.
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 goodwill—Eid 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|
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!