So a guest arrived for a first visit to India. We are fortunate in Raheem Residency that guests often choose us as a first-stop on their Indian odyssey. We think it’s because we are small, intimate but not intrusive, and with western-eastern owners we feel (and hope) that we are sensitive to both cultures.
Anyway Susan (not her real name) was tired from her three-flight trip and in truth more than a bit overwhelmed by the enormity and intensity of everything in India from people to rickshaws to colours and even smells.
So we did the usual RR ‘treatment’. Suggested a relaxing Ayurvedic massage to chill out the mind and body, got a cleansing fresh cucumber soda from the kitchen, and sat under a coconut tree for a chat.
Susan asked what was there to love about Kerala. I think at this stage she was wondering if she’d made the right holiday choice. But tiredness can make the mind go whacky, can it not? Anyway, in case you are wondering too here’s a short list of just 5.
1. The People. It has to be number one. So full of gentleness, kindness and patience. (No, we don’t include the crooks in that but guests are unlikely to meet them anyway).
2. The Food. Not like Indian food in the west. Fresh food, very local ingredients indeed, south Indian recipes (most western Indian menus are north Indian) that include a lot of delicate coconut milk and sometimes a few fireballs of spices!
3. The Sun. Can’t get away from it. Even in the rainy season it puts on a shining face most days.
4. The Scenery. First stop has to be the amalgam of rivers, canals and lakes known as the Backwaters. Cruise at leisure in your private houseboat and drink in the stillness and serenity. Then hike up by taxi to the tea and spice plantations in the hill stations. Take in a beach as well.
5. Ayurveda. Top-class massage to relax and rejuvenate body and mind. And at a fraction of the cost in the west (how about a Facial for a tenner?!).
Susan was visibly relaxing. The worried look in her face had been replaced with a tired but genuine smile. With that she took off in the direction of the Ayurvedic Suite. When she emerged, slathered in natural oils, she looked like her worries had faded and somehow you knew she would sleep like a baby that night.
Apparently she did.
This entry was first posted in on July 1, 2014.