Purple Travel

[May 16 2018]

God’s Own Country

Sleepy and on the train I can hear the sound of children laughing as they summersaulted and clambered over the antiquated metal sleeper supports, not much else to do when your on a 16 hour train to Kerala.

Like anywhere, when you walk out your front door you are met with faces, faces mapped by experience, smooth or grooved. I am attracted by this and stay a moment to to try and talk, this was not always possible and sometimes the moment was marked by indifference or annoyance at this interruption.

Everywhere the busy energy of people trying to make enough money to get by, the boy who gave me the best hair cut I have had for years, swinging the cut throat blade, pretending he was more than his 14 years. The spice ladies of Kochi and the tea pickers of Munnar, broken by the young boy fast asleep and guarding his precious bicycle and around another corner the ice cream man stretched out and snoring.

A school girl with plaited and ribboned hair, her face surprised and scattered with purple Holi powder remains, poised precariously on her bicycle.

I’m walking through a cacophony of colour and sound, the Temple Town is threaded by the quiet and half lit rows of family homes. Out of the darkness a grandmother pushes her little goddess into the frame, solemnly she looks out at me.

A girl sits thinking in a snaking alleyway. A man sits quietly alongside a cow, both ruminating.

Varkala, an evening stroll along the edge of a cliff falls off into blackness. A wild dog glitters in the half light.

Gripping the sides of a tuk tuk, I’m only just hanging on when I begin to see the hammer and sickle flashing out at me. It was everywhere, the hand painted symbol ubiquitous.

Che Guevara‘s face is staring back at me. It wasn’t the face I expected to see above the clouds in the mountains of Munnar, but there he was, his face immersed in the curling jungle-like vines of the script on a poster.

Nearby, a small house where the weekly workers meetings are stationed, soon striking over a looming contact where basic rights of the workers would be stripped away.

Kerala is the worlds first voted-in communist state. Che was a long way from home but I think he would have liked it here.

Text and photo Kes Glozier

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