India - Rural life in Kerala
And here I, Nina, was back in Aleppey..... The flight down south from Mumbai was about 3 hours and quite shaky. But Air India Express was a good deal and brought me safely to my destination. From Kochi airport it was another 2 hours to Aleppey. I was about to do another Ayurveda treatment for 3 weeks as the first treatment in January had helped me a lot with my health problems.
Again I went to the Sreekrishna Ayurveda Panchakarma Center in Aleppey. Just this time, I was not staying in the Palm Beach Ressort in Aleppey Beach but in the Beach Paradies in Thumpoly. I loved the Palm Beach Ressort but I had to safe some money and the new option was the solution. It was great to see Santhosh and Joy, the owners of Sreekrishna, again as well as all the other friends I made during the last treatment. It felt like coming back home. After a lot of warm welcomes, hugs and talks I checked into my new home for the next 3 weeks. Well, the Beach Paradies is much simpler than the Palm Beach Ressort and the beach in Thumpoly is not so nice. But I was happy with everything and there was all I needed.
Thumpoly is a fishermen village north of Aleppey with nearly no tourism. So I really experienced a deep insight of the life here. Sometimes it was shocking how people live here. Not because they live in poor conditions - they have in general enough to have a decent life if you look at the houses, the food they eat and what they wear. More shocking is the society pressure, the rules and the way people interact. For us westeners it is extremely difficult to understand. I try to give you some examples:
more than 80% of the marriages are still arranged. And people, men and women alike, consider this generally a good thing. Anyway, I heard a lot of comments like: "I have a good wife, she raises my children and can cook well" (my comment: is that all you expect of your wife?), "between husband and wife there is no love and not much sex" (my comment: how can they spend a life together, if there is no love - I cannot immagine this!), "in life you cannot be 100% happy" (my comment: hell, yes you can!), "my family is my prison but I cannot leave them" (my comment: why not?). If you are not married with 27 life here gets difficult, the pressure of society is high and the people feel unable to stand up against it. I met very few who did stand up and pay a prize for it. But they all told me that they are happy with life. So I hope, a lot of others will follow.
young girls are so cute and so very curious and polite. They smile at you, ask questions and have a certain glim in the eyes. But something must happen between the age of about 15 - 20 years old. After, the majority looks kind of broken. They do not smile the same way any more and they shyly look on the floor. A lot start to lose their beauty. That's a shame!
Women are not allowed to go for a swim in the sea (that is what a fisherman's lady told me). But men are allowed to go on the beach, shit there and wash themselves in the sea. And I can tell you: spending 3 weeks at a fishermen beach - they shit everywhere. It is disgusting. And sometimes funny. Once, we observed a man walking towards the beach with a newspaper in his hands. Well, westeners do this as well..... I mean, reading the newspaper on the toilet..... ;-)
-all kind of emotions are totally under control. Even if you try to talk with people about feelings - you will not get an answer. They do not know how to express feelings. You must carefully read the faces and eyes to find some hidden signs of emotions. The greatest example was, when I went out with 2 german friends in Aleppey town to the Food & Music Festival. Santhosh and his band was performing there. They made a great show with fantastic music. Well, in Europe, the people would have started to dance, to clap and to love. Here - nothing! All were sitting quietly on the chairs without showing a simple sign of enjoyment. After each song, hands were clapped shortly. If a child was starting to dance, the parents immediately called it back to sit down. Wow, a very strange experience.
These are just some examples. It really made me sad because I met so many lovely people. To see them suffering is hard. But it is impossible to help. Hopefully, they find a way for themselves. And it makes me very happy to see some friends going their own way without too many compromises!
The treatment itself was very difficult for me this time. But I had great company: 2 german ladies and a french guy. We had a good time and a lot of good laughs. This helped a lot. There were also a lot of festivals going on: a 2 weeks church festival in Thumpoly and a temple festival in Aleppey. I visited beautiful Marari Beach north of Aleppey. And of course I visited Aleppey Beach and my friends in the Palm Beach Ressort. It was great to see them again. And I was very happy when Markus joined me for the last 4 days. Well, and ayurveda is not wellness and is not a holiday experience - it is a medical treatment. I will see the result in the long term, but I hope it will be equally successfull as last time.
After 3 weeks on the beach in the same place it is time to move on. More coming soon....