Back Waters and Nerhu Trophy
Probably the most famous attraction in the Venice of the East (British name, Oh Visnù, tell me please, every cities in India have 2/3 names, right?). We hired a canoe, captain included, and we sailed randomly among numerous channels, observing local people in their daily life: a fishman, a woman with long hair who washed it endlessly, a school full of kids. The best part was when the captain brought us at his home for lunch. An amazing and tasty meal with fruits, rice and some sweets. He tried to speak in English with us, but his level was quite low, but we coudn’t understand each other with smiles, and “pish”, his term to say “fish”, when he tried to tell us how to fish. Too many fishes in this sentence, ah! I wrote again “fish”…
The tour gave me the possibility to raw a bit, getting close to that water and way of life: slow and intense.
2 – Nerhu Trophy Regatta:
Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India. He ruled India from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in office in 1964. The boat race is a famous Vallam Kali (traditional boat, in Malayalam language) held in the Punnamada lake. It seems all inhabitants only wait for this huge event. The truth.
Very long lines and further noise added to the usual noise (except Andaman Islands, I guess it is hard to find a spot in India with silence). There are three ticket areas where you can see the race: basic, golden, VIP. The funnyest one should be the basic area, but anybody told us to not go there, especially if you are foreigner and female. People tend to get drunk quickly and, maybe, violent. The last one is very expensive. But, I wanted them! What could I do? Arrange an appointment with the manager in charge of the trophy. He was a judge of a local district, so I promised him to write an article about the event (I published the report at an Italian magazine in 2011) and he gave me 2 VIP tickets. I looked forward to see the event. Unfortunately, I overrated it.
The race itself was great: wonderful boats, very scenic ones, and the passion by team was very touchy. The problem was the very long propaganda comment by the mayor. I dont know what he said, my malayalam proficiency is still at level zero, but he was too much, even Indians couldn’t stand him, but they can survive if there is enough food.
About food, no food sold there. You should bring food with you. We didn’t know, so we ate only some chips and water. We stayed “only” for 4 hours, a short break compared to the whole day dedicated to the race. It is so wonderful those people trained all around year to compete and represent his/her neighbourhood, proud of it. There are still some authentical and real values in Indian society, Westerners do not know them at all.