I still remember as if it were yesterday, ambling through the heavenly spice garden of
Free, floating, fanciful am I, having all and lacking none but reason.
Nostalgia floods my heart and I close my eyes,
And in these few mere seconds, I, myself, am a scarlet rose in the garden.
I almost feel the titter-tatter rain as the clouds weep during monsoon season.
I almost hear the kind-hearted people boasting meekly of their earthly Eden,
And I almost hear the garden itself singing its name through the silky breeze, with all the trees
dancing in its harmony.
Lo and behold, Kerala – Mother Nature’s very own beacon!
As the majestic name of paradise rolls off my tongue, I almost taste the milky water of clustered
coconuts, clinging on to trees that tower before me,
I almost burn my tongue as my taste buds embrace the tangy amalgamation of spices or a fresh
cup of tea,
My eyes almost water, wishing to indulge for eternity.
I almost smile, surpassing the beam of the Sun, with its golden rays draping over the land, the
viridescent leaves of mango trees acting as shade.
And as blue hues morph to evanescent red-orange tints to an inky night, the lights turn off
as the stars prepare to slumber,
Infinite and brave are they; tightly knit constellations of love, unafraid.
When dawn arrives and the rooster wakens Mother Nature, I almost feel the warm pecks against
my cheeks from cousins and family,
I almost see the laborers haul, the farmers working the land; calloused hands, sweat dripping,
arched backs, inhaling the earthy ground and exhaling life,
I almost see school-aged children mischievously frittering leisurely; old and young, short and
tall, bags slung over backs,
I almost hear the angry, buzzing honks of yellow auto-rickshaws, the frantic pedaling of bicycles,
the paddling of boats,
I almost hear the hollering of desperate yet witty market vendors and children’s pleas to go to the
The screams, the rush, the exuberance, the electrifying ambience, as Kerala awakens.
I almost feel the coolness of the blue river, the hair-raising touch, and the water undulating as
canoes and houseboats travel yonder,
I almost hear the deafening roar of tigers, the sly slithering of snakes, the vibration of my heart
in sync with the trumpeting of elephants,
I almost spring at the ferocious thudding of drums during festivals, the Keralites united to
I almost see the blur of euphoric faces – their happiness surpassing the stars in the sky and the
grains of sand that cover this earth.
And thus, in the dawning of this new day, Kerala arouses once more; a kindle ignites, a candle is
lit, and the garden is spiced.
Regretfully, I open my eyes and sigh a gentle sigh, recovering from wonder,
I am no longer in a garden but in a graveyard; the only flowers mourning for what is lost and
what could have been,
I am no longer a scarlet rose but withered and frail, no more petals but only thorns,
I resist the urge to reminisce, but to concentrate on where I dwell now, though it be modernly
desolate, often succumbing to ennui and perhaps to others,
But I am almost there, oh Kerala, so very so close,
Though wilted today, I shall be planted anew; watered fresh, tomorrow again I shall be a rose
I smile to myself and let my mind wander like buffaloes roaming the lush, green pastures of
For I almost feel the titter tatter rain as the clouds weep during monsoon season…
NJ, United States