They say, if you have seen India, you have seen the world.
I will not disagree. This vast variety of culture, nature, landscapes, cuisines is possible only in India. Among this huge verity, what touches us the most, is the small things.
I want to share my experience with a small fisherman family here.
Mararikulum is a not-so-much popular as its big brother Alleppey. Although only half an hour drive apart, this serene beach purely belongs to the local anglers. Although there are a handful of resorts building recently, it is the home stays that still prevails in this region.
Marari sea lap villas is such a home stay.
Built right on the beach, this home stay offers its guests direct access to the beach and the pristine blue Arabian sea. No, there is no concept of private beach here, and the reason is simple: there is no need of one. During the time I stayed (mid May), almost the entire stretch of the beach belonged to myself.
The serenity of the place is surely what one looks for in a hideout gateway. But what was out of my expectation is the extremely friendly family.
I contacted the current owner, Anoop a month before my visit. He was happy to welcome me abroad, but notified that it is a home stay and not a resort (yeah, I know people who makes demands in every situations). I was completely fine with it. In fact, I was looking for it. I paid by Google pay and he confirmed my booking.
The family is a traditional fisherman family as all the other families in this area are. Anoop’s father used to go in the middle of the ocean and bring back a boat full of fishes. Time flies. Anoop and his brothers do not go to the ocean themselves. They still have three fishing boats, which they give to other anglers in lease. They have now opened their home to welcome travelers from all over the world and found a new way of living.
At the time I arrived, Anoop was out of tows for Visa works. Later, I came to know that during off tourist season, he travels to European countries and works as chef. Isn’t that wonderful?
The remaining members of the family, his brother and father, does not understand much English, and I am completely ignorant about Malayalam, their native language. They offered me lemon juice and cool down the exhausting journey up to the home.
I arrived at around 14:30 with a huge appetite. After much struggle understanding each other’s language, I got that the lunch time is over, and they will serve dinner after 19:00.
Ahh! Not the best condition of whole day drive and not much to eat, right? What is more wonderful is that, there is no restaurant nearby. And by “no” I mean not a single one with event the worst food.
I do not blame them. I informed them that I would be arriving at around 18:00. Mararikulum being not a top tourist destinations, and the time is not being a peak season in Kerala, they do not keep much stock. So, I always need to pre-order my food.
After requesting for some time, I managed to convince them to prepare me some bread and egg curry. Thank God they had eggs in stock.
I took my shower while they were preparing my food. It was terribly hot during the day. After the bath, they served me my lunch in the open dining balcony. The taste… truly heaven! I though it is the dinosaur inside me speaking, but I proved to be wrong later.
After the lunch and a nap, it was time for a gorgeous sunset in the Arabian sea. They served evening tea directly on the beach. The house doggy was there all the time to make sure I return to my room safely.
The rooms are very basic. However, there is a big comfortable bed, air condition, basic amenities and bathroom with WC. Could not expect more from a home stay in a not so popular village of India.
The next morning broke with the alarms of the roosters and sound of the waves. As fresh the morning was, it was irresistible to dive into the sea. Although Anoop warned me about the huge waves and steep slope (he was rightly did so), I found myself playing with the crabs even before the sun was in the sky.
Such a lovely morning with a gentle breeze, and I was one only homo sapience in the beach! I spent nearly two hours in the sea, saw the sky getting brighter behind the cottages and gently spreading its rays on the waves, the sun raised. This was the best time to soak in the salty water, as it will be unbearably hot after a couple of hours.
By the time I came back to the cottage, they were ready with my fresh fruits, juice, bread, fried eggs. I enjoyed the meal lying on the hammocks. Then went to the nearby market with one of the brothers of Anoop. I purchased good amount of fished and prawns and handed over to them to prepare my lunch.
For the first time in my life, I realized relaxing can also be an activity during travel. In the shade of palm trees, I totally enjoyed the hammocks, the wooden benches, the old broken boats. The old father also offered me freshly cut coconut water directly from the tree, and that too, complimentary. They hardly understood my language, and I barely understood theirs, but we shared so much stories and experiences while watching them watering the grass on the lawn, feeding the pets or doing other household activities. Sometime, I offered them a hand and they accepted with a smiling face.
I heard a lot about food prepared in coconut oil in southern part of India. Some describes those totally inedible for those who never had it before. I want to offer them the fried fish and prawn curry they prepared with coconut oil. This was one of the best I ever had in all the countries I travelled.
Rest of the day, I spend cruising in Alleppey backwater, a much famous activity in Kerala. Details in a future post may be.
The day ended with a beach barbecue followed by another nice supper from the family.
I had flight the next morning. I had to start at 5:00. At that early morning also, they didn’t forget to prepare me some breakfast that I can have on my way.
I bid the adeus with a heart full of joy and an experience of beautiful hospitability by local people.