Kerala, the God’s Own Country, is a blogger’s delight. Many personages have written about the place but I have also had unique personal experiences during my stint in the State. I often reminisce about my days in Kerala, not just because it was my last posting in uniform but because most moments of my stay have remained etched in memory. Anyone who thought India is a difficult country to govern, think of Kerala. It is almost impossible to govern. Of the many things that are free to Malayalis, most enjoyed are their freedom of Action and Expression. Mallus suffer from what is popularly referred to as a CAVE syndrome, Citizens Against Virtually Everything!! Any policy announcement, by any department of the government, is warmly welcomed by a widely observed bandh! Contrary to the conviction held by the rest of the country, residents there eagerly look forward to hartals, every now and then since it offers them an opportunity to have a break from their monotonous laid back life! Keralites are extremely hard working while they are outside Kerala, not inside. In Kerala, there are, as I had observed, only two types of days, “rest days” and “unrest days”!! I remember, there was a total bandh called in protest against Government’s decision to sterilize the canines. It was an antidote to arrest the growing population of dogs. Recreation and procreations are most favoured pastime there, institutional interference is not encouraged. Any way, how did this policy affect humans, you may ask. But, there lies the difference. Keralites have the propensity to perceive a problem even where none exists! That is their uniqueness. One other thing that the Malayalis love is, “speeches”. You erect a platform, you will soon see people gathering around it! Even their musical programmes begin and end with long winding speeches. “ If you want to enjoy, learn to endure”, is their immutable message to anyone looking for an escape. In other parts of the country, while planning for a cultural programme, people do not arrive until the sundry speeches are over. Kerala is different. In Kerala, people leave the venue once the speeches are over! Most of them prefer speeches to songs. Blessed with the long swathes of white beaches, all along, yet another indulgence is their ability to sit and marvel at the waves, endlessly. On Sundays, at beaches, one can see an endless sea of humanity and one has to literally strain his neck to see the sea!! Competing with the canines, they also have grown, I mean, multiplied. The current population growth rate is 4.9 %. Although much below the national average, the previous government had declared its intention to bring it to zero, at the earliest. Known to the country as a bunch of people who can only talk, they need to now do it. I mean, not do it !!! People had already planned a protest, some are against the policy since it interferes in recreation and the remaining are against because it hampers procreation. Government was looking worried. This is one state where the public holds the politicians to ransom and regularly takes jibes at people in power. No-holds-barred portraits of political leaders are a daily fare on every local channel and the victims of such portrayal view such shows as an honor of sorts.
In my opinion, Kerala cannot be called a State, it is a Country.
Not too sure whether it is God’s own, but, certainly, this “Spice Garden of India” is one of its own!!